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Jeff Johnson says a young political 'tracker' talked his way into running mate's home

Political trackers have been in the news this election year.
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Minnesota gubernatorial candidate Jeff Johnson says a young political "tracker" talked his way into the home of his running-mate Donna Bergstrom.

While choosing not to report the incident to the police nor identify the tracker "due to the young age of the individual," Johnson said it represents a "new low" in Minnesota politics.

Bring Me The News understands that the tracker is a boy of high school age, with the Minnesota DFL saying he is not employed or paid by the party or any of its candidates.

As Johnson tells it on Facebook, Bergstrom returned to her Duluth home to find the tracker sitting inside with her husband and 13-year-old son.

He had apparently knocked on the door and told her husband that his phone had died and he needed to use theirs to call for a ride, and asked if he could come inside while he waited.

Bergstrom's husband didn't know he was a tracker, and Bergstrom "was startled" to return home to find him sitting there.

"To actually enter someone's home under false pretenses is a new low," Johnson wrote. "If I learned of this type of behavior against my opponent, I wouldn't stand for it. And, FYI, if anything like this happens again, the police will be involved."

While Johnson described the individual as a "DFL tracker," the Minnesota DFL's deputy communications director William Davis was adamant he is not a Democratic staffer.

"He's certainly not employed by us," Davis said. "All of our trackers work under me and we have a very strict 'no private home' policy. Never ever would we allow it."

The boy has been described as an "overzealous volunteer" rather than an official party tracker.

Johnson is running against DFLer Tim Walz in the Minnesota Governor race this November.

What are political trackers?

Political trackers have become an increasingly visible part of election campaigning across the country.

In essence, they are staffers who are tasked with following opposition candidates, recording everything they do and say as part to glean information that voters may not like.

They're not only employed by political parties and campaigns, but also by organizations with vested interests in an upcoming election.

While some trackers are silent observers, others offer a more provocative service, confronting candidates and asking them snap questions.

MinnPost reported in July that a tracker for the Minnesota Jobs Coalition asked Minnesota House Minority Leader Melissa Hortman about the assault allegations against Rep. Keith Ellison.

Meanwhile, 3rd District DFL candidate Dean Philips was followed by a tracker who would wear Bernie Sanders shirts and even an Antifa headband, whose job was to "harass and get a bad reaction," MinnPost notes.

That said, sometimes trackers have better relationships with politicians. State Rep. Erin Maye Quade for example tweeted this about one of her trackers earlier this year, suggesting their relationship was friendly until Nickelback was introduced.

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