How not to handle trackers

Updated
 

Modern campaigns hire trackers to follow rival candidates around, recording their public remarks and interactions. I imagine candidates find this annoying, and some of them occasionally lose their cool, but the practice is just a fact of political life in the 21st century.

Josh Mandel, the Republican U.S. Senate candidate in Ohio, doesn’t seem to be adapting well.

If you watch the clip, there’s a very brief moment, about 12 seconds in. The tracker enters an elevator with the candidate, Mandel moves towards the guy with the camera, and though we don’t see anything physical, you can hear the tracker clearly say, “Please don’t.” At that point, Mandel backs off and moves away.

The whole, quick incident would hardly be noteworthy, were it not for Mandel lying about it later.

As Marc Kovac at Ohio Capital Blog noted, the Republican candidate accused the tracker of making “the initial physical contact.” Unfortunately for Mandel, a reporter from the Columbus Dispatch was also in the elevator.

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Josh Mandel said a political video tracker “made the initial physical contact with me” in an incident that occurred Friday in a public elevator, offering an explanation that is not supported by eyewitness accounts nor the video of the incident and is a twist from the original statement put out by the Mandel campaign.

On Saturday, The Dispatch reported that Mandel approached and ultimately grabbed a monopod attached to a camera held by a tracker from the American Bridge 21st Century political-action committee, who had been following Mandel for several minutes and ultimately boarded the same Rhodes Tower elevator. Mandel, the state’s treasurer, was on his way to an Ohio Board of Deposit meeting in his Rhodes Tower office.

The entire episode was witnessed by a Dispatch reporter who was interviewing and accompanying Mandel over a period of a few hours Friday.

I’m sure Mandel has a team of advisers, but I might offer some suggestions for the conservative candidate: (1) don’t initiate physical confrontations; (2) don’t initiate physical confrontations on camera in and in front of journalists; and (3) don’t blatantly lie about it.

Josh Mandel

How not to handle trackers

Updated