Former Sen. Mark Dayton, the Democratic nominee for governor of Minnesota, is now accusing Republican trackers of harassing him and voters by standing too close to him at his events.
At a press conference, Dayton showed a video his campaign made of trackers using Flip cameras and standing close to him at an outdoor festival. (Yes, the Dayton campaign tracked the trackers.) The trackers remained silent and did not directly disrupt Dayton, but appeared to have possibly been an obstacle for fairgoers who had to walk around them in order to approach Dayton or roam about the fair.
Dayton can be heard saying to someone else: “I think we’ll go, because last year they made a point about how important it is not to block traffic. And with two Republican trackers standing in the way of people here, people will think they’re with me, and then they’ll, you know — it’s disrespectful of people going, it’s very disruptive.”
At his news conference, Dayton said that trackers used to stand a “respectful distance” away from politicians. “The tactic has changed and it’s clearly one of harassing me and trying to provoke me and it’s one of intimidating citizens so they can’t have a conversation with me,” he said.
The state Republican Party responded that they’re not changing their ways — and turned this into another part of their campaign narrative that Dayton is mentally unstable. “If you can’t stand the heat stay out of the kitchen. This isn’t 1982,” said state GOP spokesman Mark Drake, referring to the first year in which Dayton ran for office. “Tracking is a routine part of politics now. I’ve never seen this sort of bizarre, weird, erratic reaction.”
The TPM Poll Average currently puts Dayton ahead of Republican nominee Tom Emmer and Independence Party candidate Tom Horner by a margin of 44.2%-33.6%-9.9%.