While knocking on doors in Milwaukee, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mahlon Mitchell turned the camera on a so-called “tracker” who he says has been following him to events around the state wielding a video camera.
Taking a good-natured tone on a Facebook live video, Mitchell asks the tracker, “Why do you follow me around everywhere? How much do you get paid?” The tracker manages to awkwardly respond, “probably not as much as your $200,000 that you make,” and ask, “why do you use the union to benefit yourself?” before retreating to his car.
Records show Mitchell was paid just over $90,000 in his role as president of the statewide firefighters’ union plus about $88,000 as a full-time City of Madison firefighter, including overtime, in 2016.
The Republican Party of Wisconsin did not respond to an email from Madison365 late Wednesday, but Governor Scott Walker aide Brian Reisinger identified the tracker as Ben Stelter to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and accused Mitchell of “bullying” Stelter.
Reisinger also confirmed Stelter works for the Walker campaign.
In the video, Mitchell says Stelter followed him to events from Green Bay to Dodgeville “trying to get me to say crazy things.”
“You don’t like someone following you around with a camera all the time?” Mitchell asks as Stelter retreats to his car. “That, ladies and gentlemen, is how you deal with a tracker appropriately … that’s what I’m going to do every time I have a tracker.”
It is common for campaigns and parties to send staffers and volunteers to opponents’ events in hopes of catching a gaffe on video. It is not common, however, for candidates to turn the tables.
Stelter’s presence following Mitchell could indicate Walker views Mitchell, who leads the eight Democratic candidates in fundraising but trails Tony Evers in recent polls, as a serious contender in the August 14 primary.