The consultant credited by many in the industry with pioneering tracking now worries the tactic has been taken too far by third-party groups, but his competitors say he’s just crying foul to protect a client.
As the research director at the DNC and the DSCC, Mike Gehrke helped stick cameras in the faces of countless Republican candidates over the past decade. But Gehrke, now a pollster at Benenson Strategy Group, said he recently saw a line being crossed when a gubernatorial candidate in Indiana was filmed leaving an event with his 84-year-old mother.
The video of the America Rising PAC tracker questioning John Gregg, TMZ style, as he walks his mother through a parking lot in Linton, Ind. was shot by the Democrat’s campaign and generated some local press. But Gehrke said he’s just using it to point out a foul from the other side, not trying to turn campaign tactics into an exploitable issue for his client.
“There are some things that are off limits and we used to recognize that,” Gehrke told C&E. “I think there’s a lot in bounds – you can go pretty far – but you don’t have to go this far. They don’t need footage of John Gregg’s mom in their campaign ads.”
That wasn’t the point, according to Amelia Chasse, a spokeswoman for America Rising.