A press release last week from Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mike Baumgartner complained about a confrontation with a Democratic videographer at a closed Lakewood Republican Women meeting. The videographer wouldn’t leave the area outside the meeting at Oakbrook Golf Club until police were called.
Baumgartner also said the man followed his wife Eleanor in the parking lot when she left to retrieve something from her car.
Later Baumgartner said Lakewood Mayor Doug Richardson was the one who called police. Lakewood Assistant Chief Mike Zaro said there wasn’t a name on the department’s call log but that a call did come in last Thursday evening. Officers responded and the videographer left the area outside the club and parked on a public street.
No police report was filed and Zaro said: “It sounds like two political opponents jabbering at each other and officers just calmed them down.”
Now Baumgartner said that he was mistaken, that while Richardson told him the police had been called it was another person in attendance who made the actual call.
“Since the mayor was in attendance the senator may have presumed that he called the police,” wrote club program chairwoman Sally Taylor in an e-mail.
The incident shed a spotlight on a political practice used by most campaigns and parties, the use of trackers with videocameras to record statements made by the other side.
State Democratic party officials said the person at the club does work for the party but they declined Baumgartner’s demand for an apology.
Taylor said members of the club and other in attendance took pictures of the videographer.
” A number of guests came outside and took photos of the videographer via their cell cameras and
now statewide federation clubs are aware that he may attempt to infiltrate their events when the state senator is speaking to their clubs,” Taylor wrote.
In fact pictures of a man party officials referred to as “Zach the Quack” were used to try to block News Tribune reporter Lewis Kamb from covering the Pierce County Republican Convention Saturday at the Tacoma convention center. Kamb was told he looked like the videographer and was finally allowed to cover the event only after he showed identification, answered questions such as the names of the New Tribune editorial board and after the newspaper was called to confirm the assignment of Kamb to the event.