May 07, 2017
Next year, Pennsylvania residents will cast their votes to determine whether Governor Tom Wolf gets another term in office, but one Republican challenger is already quietly on the campaign trail and isn't at all happy with the alleged tactics of his political opponents.
State Sen. Scott Wagner (R-York) took to Facebook last Friday to condemn billionaire investor and prominent progressive George Soros, accusing a group he funds of attending a private event to "track" his statements.
"I want to set the record straight about last Tuesday night," Wagner wrote in his Facebook post to accompany a video message. "I will not be intimidated by George Soros or his army of liberal activists."
"Tracker" is a term used to describe people who attend political events to shadow candidates and see whether they will say anything controversial in a friendly setting, where they are likely to be more loose and informal.
Wagner was speaking at a private country club in central Pennsylvania when he observed a man with a camera in the back of the room. During the event, Wagner confronted the man and confiscated his camera, according to the York Dispatch.
A pair of videos posted on YouTube show bits and pieces of the exchange between Wagner and the man with the camera. In the first video (around the 4:50 mark) Wagner begins to question the man, who says that he's at the event with an organization called American Bridge, a well-known liberal SuperPAC.
"American Bridge 21st Century is a progressive research and communications organization committed to holding Republicans accountable for their words and actions and helping you ascertain when Republican candidates are pretending to be something they’re not," the group says on their website.
In the second video, the cameraman asks for his property to be returned before Wagner approaches him, pushing away a cell phone and accusing him of trespassing.
"The state senator just attacked me," the cameraman said. "I am bleeding. He has my property. He could be destroying what is mine right now and belongs to an organization. He's breaking the law."
“Actions speak louder than words and Scott Wagner’s actions prove he’s an unhinged bully who isn’t fit for office," American Bridge spokesperson Lizzy Price said in a statement. "Scott Wagner, we know you’re angry, but we demand you return our stolen property immediately or we’ll press charges.”
Police are reportedly investigating the incident.
Soros, who also supported a major ad buy in Philadelphia's race for District Attorney, frequently provides financial resources to groups and candidates in strategic political contents.
"There are times when there is no choice but to stand up and confront the cheater in the room," Wagner said in a statement to the York Dispatch.
Apart from Gov. Wolf, Wagner and businessman Paul Mango are thus far the only two individuals to declare their candidacy in the 2018 gubernatorial race.