Wagner Confronts Tracker, Grabs Camera

Wagner AB VideoAt an event at the Country Club of York, Gubernatorial candidate and state Senator Scott Wagner physically confiscated a camera from a tracker who was filming his speech.  

The tracker works for American Bridge 21st Century Bridge, a progressive super PAC.  Wagner told the Philadelphia Inquirer that the speech was not related to his campaign, it was about estate planning.  

“You’re about to see your Senator in action,” Wagner is heard saying in the video before he confronts the tracker.  

Prior to taking the tracker’s camera, Wagner asked the tracker who he was with.  The tracker responded that he was with American Bridge.  

After Wagner took the camera, the tracker began recording on his cell phone.  Wagner tried to stop tracker from recording with his cell phone.  

“You just assaulted me,” the tracker says in the second video.  

“No, I didn’t assault you,” Wagner responded.  

Trackers have become a mainstay of campaigning and opposition research firms looking to catch high profile candidates saying embarrassing or controversial things on the trail.  The voice of the tracker at the event sounds like it may be the same tracker American Bridge used in central Pennsylvania during the 2016 election.  

“If Scott Wagner can’t handle the pressure of the campaign trail, what makes him think he can handle leading the state of Pennsylvania,” American Bridge spokeswoman Lizzy Price said in a statement.  

These videos are likely to encourage Wagner’s opponents – Democrats and Republicans alike – to track him even more. Wagner is currently the only official candidate in the race to challenge incumbent Governor Tom Wolf, but Allegheny county businessman Paul Mango has set the date for his own announcement.  House Speaker Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) is exploring a bid for Governor.  Former Lieutenant Governor Jim Cawley, Congressman Mike Kelly (R-Butler), and state House Majority Leader Dave Reed (R-Indiana) are also rumored to be weighing a bid for Governor.  

Full disclosure: the author interacted with American Bridge trackers during my tenure at the Pa. Republican Party.

The videos can be seen below:

50 Responses

  1. He is as thin-skinned as he is brash. Funny how he gets in people’s faces but backs down when others get into his. I never figured this guy out but the people of PA will get a good look at who he really is next year. Wagner is Trump-light. He thinks he’s a plain talker but has no appeal, charm or charisma. At least when Trump conned his supporters, they felt hopeful. With Wagner, they just feel confused.

  2. This guy wants to be Governor and lacks the class to handle everyday candidate op research staffers??? Bush league behavior for sure and shockingly amateurish for a long time politico.

  3. Hey tim, anyone who hides behind a first name and doesnt fully is themselves is a coward! Read the wiretasp law idiot!

  4. This tracker is a joke. You should see him. He has a ponytail down past his butt. Really is a sight.

  5. “A” for effort, but the “Reasonable Republican” of May 3rd at 11:34 AM needs to clean up his use of the em dash…

  6. Seneca–sometime one just has to identify smoke screens to bring out the real intent of some comments on this site.

  7. This clip of Mr. Wagner evidences some deeper problem with our political system as do some of the arrogant comments to justify this type of outrageous assaultive over-reaction.

    When somebody trespasses at an event it is not a reasonable reaction to take their property. I believe it might be reasonable to ask them to leave, but according to reason and laws it is not proper to assault them, it is reasonable to call the police and have them handle the situation.

    We don’t need another bully in politics as there are enough to go around in our political lives. We do need people to fill our public offices who have the ability to remain cool under minor pressure. The obvious arrogance of Mr. Wagner is repulsive!

    This act of aggression because someone is taping a public official in a private setting is a sign that this Senator is in no way worthy of being our chief executive in Pennsylvania.

  8. @KKK. Come now, no need for you to be so righteous. You’ll never see me at one of those rallies, so you’re on your own.

    The sad, brutal truth in two-party politics is tha tsometimes voters feel compelled to vote against a candidate they dislike more than those they vote for.

    And I think you’d realize that from the Democrat side. After all, wouldn’t you use that argument to explain Rendell and Wolf?

  9. @Jim. Not to worry. Many try.

    If you maintain that both major parties are both guilty of grevious sins, I’m with you on that. I still keep to the west shore driving by Harrisburg as I’m a bit concerned about fire from heaven coming at any moment with the Capitol building as the epicenter.

    But I still stand by my backhanded compliment to the Democrats. If the Republicans were anywhere near as good Corbett would still be governor.

  10. This vicious assault must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law!!! This young man had a terrible laceration requiring sutures to prevent life –threatening gangrene!
    This innocent young man will have post-traumatic stress as a result of this assault that will afflict him for the rest of his life with nightmares and cold sweats. A judge must award him pain and suffering no less than $5 million

  11. This was NOT public. If it was, those would have been the first words out of the tracker’s mouth during his tet-a-tet with the country club staff. But he didn’t say “Hey, this is a public event” because it was NOT. It wasn’t advertised. It was a private group meeting at a closed, private venue. So we have trespassing and wiretapping laws in play

  12. Armchair lawyers are amusing. The absolute worst legal outcome for Wagner is summary level harassment, which equates to a parking ticket. If he gets that much depends on who is magisterial district judge is. But remember, the tracker kept filming, which hurts his case to harm. Remember the reporter that the Trump aid allegedly assaulted? She jumped exuberantly back into the pack to maintain questioning, which meant she couldn’t have been significantly harmed – and yeah that one was thrown out out court.

  13. Wiretap laws in PA. pertains to phone conversations and use of other means of recording without the permission or consent of the other party. Unfortunately this was a public forum, sorry to say fair game ….

  14. Wagner takes camera and runs from the kid and hides in a closet and has two country club suits debate whether the kid was trespassing. But Wagnersva tough guy.
    A tough guy faces his opponent not runs and hides.

  15. Are you mentally ill or what Mr. Sexton? This was a public meeting and not a “wiretap” over an electronic device. As to how he gained access, I cannot say. He was in the background filming and was not creating a disturbance. Senator Wagner took it upon himself to confiscate this man’s property and furthermore went on to physically assault him. Your daddy is nothing but a big thug who tosses his weight around. He’s a crybully who can’t stand the heat! So their you mentally ill Wagner supporter, your defense of the “Senator” is indefensable! Go complain to someone who cares! See the “hand”? Douche!

  16. Seneca had me worried for a minute there, talking all logical and stuff. Then he reverted to form and said he’s voting for Wagner or whatever thug the GOP puts up regardless of him being a thug. Birds of a feather…. Missed you at the last Klan rally. Where were you? Wagner was there.

  17. So I watched the YouTube clip and I am asking where’s the big deal that has progressive feathers ruffled? I don’t see it. Sure Wagner should have had security do his lightwork given that this PAC operative was going to cry assault and rape and everything in between. Right now Antifa antics is what people are seeing in this news and this Wagner “incident” will put people to sleep by comparison

  18. Well this does it for me…I was leaning toward Wagner but now…I am DEFINITELY for Wagner. This guy has a set of balls and that’s what we haven’t had in Harrisburg. Look out liberals, the GOP is actually going to nominate someone who isn’t afraid.

  19. @Charles. Good points, and I’m sure Wagner and his people will make them in his defense. But American Bridge supports a hardcore leftist machine that can afford top-notch legal support. Wagner had better have a good legal team as well.

    And Wagner could prevail, but at what cost? That remains to be seen. That, and the impact on his campaign.

    And Wagner will still have something going for him. There are still a lot of Pennsylvanians out here who would vote for Wagner, or any Republican, in order to oust Wolf.

  20. I read Tim’s remarks, it is appearant you never heard of Pennsylvania wiretap laws which is a felony, this intruder recorded thirty to forty people without their consent and knowledge! This man was trespassing and lied to get into the meeting which was private and then proceeds to violate Senator Wagners civil rights. So Tim, get your facts correct and then take you acid tongue and shove it where the sun does not shine!!!!!

  21. I meant to say temperament, as the reason Wagner is unfit to serve as Governor. He physically assaults the tracker after stealing his camera. How is it that the State Police were not called and Wagner not placed under arrest? The evidence is clear on the video and the tracker should sue the beejeezuz out of this scumbag politician!

    Wagner is a rich dude speaking at a “country club” to other rich white people, his “constituents”. He gets torqued when an outsider films a speech. Why is he afraid of what he says at a private country club coming to light to the outside world? Does Wagner have something to hide the big prick?

    Well, he’s done himself in but good now. People will see his true colors over this one incident an he has exposed himself as the criminal thug he really is in my opinion. Screw him!

  22. “To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize.” Voltaire

    Wagner is the “Boss Hog” of York County, however he is unfit to serve in the Governor’s mansion. He just does not have the impermanent. He’s a dictator who rules his kingdom with intimidation, threats and potential violence to the lives of his people and their families.He’s like an organized crime boss who will put anyone who disagrees with him or his “authority” out of commission.

    He’s a corruptocrat of the first order and needs to be taken down a notch or two. Screw him!

  23. I just have to LMAO at anyone spewing that Wagner is politically done. After reading the headlines and some partisan posts, I expected to see a video of Wagner close-fisting a female intern. Instead we hear Wagner’s voice in the background calmly telling an unseen staffer to carry the tripod while Wagner grabs the camera, after he informs the tracker that he is trespassing. Talk about a nothing-burger!

  24. @Jim. You have a point that Democrats are not the only ones to engage in poltical skulduggery. But the Democrats seem to always have the better politicians and the latter always have a bigger bag of tricks.

    But it might be worth comparing lists of Democrat and Republican sins and misdeeds, complied against a reasonable standard. I’d be willing to bet which one would be longer.

  25. @Jim. Check out my 4:14PM post. And I’ll condense it for you: Wagner has just made his race more difficult. We’ll wait to see if the damage is severe enough to knock him out of it. He’ll probably stay, certainly for the immediate future.

    My personal view: I’d vote for Wagner or any Republican next year if it meant getting Wolf out. And, BTW, I happen to be an Independent. In this case I’d be voting against Wolf, not “for” his opponent. And Wolf will likely be the Democratic candidate. Not because he has any strong appeal, or a machine behind him, but because Democrats at this time have no one else.

    IMHO, that’s what it will boil down to if Wagner stays in the race. The 2018 election here may not be about which candidate is liked most, but which one is disliked most and wanted out of office. And what price voters wish to pay getting Wolf out.

  26. Video proof that Wagner is a hot head and a thug. This candidacy should be over.

  27. He could have asked him to leave. But any self respecting conservative who favors gun rights should know he could not confiscate the camera. Maybe some people will like this, but he had those people. I think you are looking at a guy not ready for prime time with thin skin. Wait til Brabender and Urban start working

  28. So whats your point Seneca?As if the right wingers don’t do the same thing.You really didn’t uncover some deep political conspiracy sherlock

  29. @John. Quite right. The question is whether or not Wagner is knocked out of the race. If he stays in, he can expect to see some interesting footage from this event in political ads come next summer. And if there is legal fallout, the Democrats are downright stupid if they don’t try to drag things out as long as possible.

    It’s been said that even bad publicity has a positive angle in that it means people are talking about you. This could well be one of the exceptions to this.

  30. @Isaac L. Excellent point. It certainly will raise doubts about Wagner. It may have even given a leftist tool like American Bridge the honor of a headshot on his candidacy, the one that would have been the most likely to unseat Wolf. Before the PR dust from this even settles, the legal side of things will probably just have begun. And even if Wagner has the better lawyers (uncertain, since Soros money will probably ensure some very good legal talent), winning in a court of law will in no way guarantee a win in the court of public opinion.

  31. I don’t know that this will sink his campaign, but it is pretty huge (yuuuge?), if for no other reason than it shows a profound lack of judgment on Sen. Wagner’s part. Losing your cool like that and attacking a tracker is just insane. Call security (I’m sure a country club has a guy) or a manager and have that person ask him to leave. There isn’t a tracker alive who is going to refuse a lawful request to vacate the premises from someone with the authority to do so (though they might drag their feet a bit), because it’s not like they are getting paid enough to risk getting arrested. Beating up on the guy and stealing his camera (and then not giving back his memory card!!!) is just stupid.

  32. Correction to my earlier post, line 4: “AFSCME and other labor organizations.”

  33. I know Jack…and Pete, and Chelsa…love em all…and if you say otherwise, I’ll kick you in the Dick…he’s a cousin.

  34. For those who may not know: “American Bridge” is American Bridge 21st Century, a progressive super-PAC with connections to David Brock’s Media Matters organization. It describes itself as a “progressive research and com munications” organization. Its largest donors have been funding groups operated by George Soros as well as AFSCME. In 2016 Soros directly contributed one million dollars to it, and a front organization “American Bridge 21st Century Foundation” at least 1.7 million dollars. David Brock is president of the latter organization.

    Other contributors included AFSCME, National Federation of Teachers, and the National Education Association, each with $200,000. AFL-CIO contributed $100,000.

    BTW, there is a Wikipedia article on the organization, now dated. For those who might not have time to check the article, it has quotes from the following news dailies:

    New York Times: [it] “aims to record every handshake, every utterance by Republican candidates…looking for gotcha moments that could derail political ambitions or provide fodder for television advertisements by liberal groups.”

    USA Today: [its goal is] “uncovering an unguarded moment, a controversial position, a gaffe or flip-flop, anything that can be used to torpedo a political foe’s campaign.”

  35. Not only is Wagner committing a crime by theft of the camera, but the other guys who permit him to do so and shelter in their offices are accomplices. They should all be criminally charged likewise. Moreover, they can all be sued likewise.

  36. This scumbag Wagner should be arrested and charged with robbery and assault. End of his career. If the filmer was trespassing as some kookily allege at an event advertised as “public”, this is still not the proper and legal way to address it. This is being a thug. Even according to the Orange Clown rules, Wagner should have said “Get him outa here.” And let one of his goon supporters take the rap. But I guess he wanted to show how tough he was and did not have any Tomahawk missiles to launch.

  37. Chuckie: The Pgh Wagners are not all that bad. If you say otherwise, then you don’t know Jack.

  38. LOCK HIM UP! LOCK HIM UP! LOCK HIM UP!

    Felons can’t hold office in PA. Theft by battery is a felony.

  39. My personal opinion, his comment that “he is a public official speaking at a public meeting” is off base. Yes, he is a public official, but he was speaking at a private event for an audience of members of private organizations. He was not invited. While what Sen. Wagner did was not correct, the tracker was trespassing. The argument that he was just doing his job does not hold water. As for his cut…goodness…it wasn’t much more than a paper cut. He acts like he is dying…I have had paper cuts many times while working and I never whined like this kid.

  40. Don’t film me, this is a private event, says pervert Wagner who was caught filming upskirts from the ground floor of the Capitol. What a loon.

  41. Well, he’s not a Allegeny County Wagner but that’s how our Wagners act and it’s another reason why we love them…and because they like pay for play and come cheap. If this Wagner beats up people too, La Familia is in board. We might even send Johnny Doc in to give some pointers. A good sucker punch to the incumbent reformer could put us back in business.

  42. I cannot say I am in shock. You should look at us once the Unemployment Center funding deal was reached.

  43. Wow – I was considering Wagner as the antidote to a flaccid and do nothing Tom Wolf – but this guy is a little too intense. Have to look at other candidates now. Can’t vote for this hothead.

  44. I wonder what Wagner said to his daughter when he attacked her. “Your about to see your daddy in action”? This man is a loose cannon, almost like he’s the white OJ.

  45. WOW. This is the video that cost’s candidates elections.
    Sen. Wagner you don’t know how badly this is going to hurt you.

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