May 11, 2015 5:30 PM
VIDEO: Rand Paul official licks Democratic tracker's camera
NH1 Political Director - NH1.com
LONDONDERRY – It appears a pro-Democratic political tracker took a licking Monday at a Rand Paul event.
In what may be a first, a camera belonging to a tracker for the pro-Democratic group American Bridge was licked by David Chesley, the New Hampshire political director for Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky’s presidential campaign. The incident happened just as the senator’s town hall at the Londonderry Lions Club was getting underway. A recording of the licking was quickly put out on-line by the group, and instantly went viral on Twitter and other social media.
Tracking is becoming more and more common in politics, in the hopes of recording a political opponent making a gaffe or making a point that the opposition feels is controversial. Video trackers are often asked to leave events, sometimes politely , and sometimes by force. Other times their cameras are blocked by a candidate’s supporters.
But the licking appears to be a first.
The tracker is not new to New Hampshire. He spent last year in the Granite State as well, mostly following GOP Senate candidate Scott Brown, who was the Republican challenger to Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen.
“It's gross. That camera's been in the field since July, 2013 and was in the canoe chasing Scott Brown last year,” American Bridge spokesman Ben Ray told NH1 News.
Chesley is regarded in the political world as one of the upper tier of GOP strategists in the first-in-the-nation primary state.
NH1 reached out to Chesley for comment, but has not received a response at the posting. The Paul campaign put out a statement that did not mention the incident.
"Senator Rand Paul visited New Hampshire today to accept the endorsement of twenty New Hampshire State Representatives who support his run for the White House, and to visit with and take questions from the voters of NH. It was a great day of events," said Sergio Gor, the Paul campaign's communications director.
The New Hampshire Democratic Party jumped in on the action, putting out a statement.
“As Democrats, we’re very proud of the Affordable Care Act which allows individuals to take advantage of a number of routine health screenings without cost sharing. We’d like to remind Rand Paul’s political director and former NHGOP staffer that while we wouldn’t recommend repeating his behavior, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, he may be eligible for a free wellness check-up after licking the camera today," said Chairman Ray Buckley, in a statement.