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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Smile, you're on candidate camera

Tracker{Photo of McCollum staffer taping Rick Scott by John Frank}
 They lurk, cameras at the ready, during every meeting of the Cabinet, three statewide candidates in their crosshairs. When Congressional hopeful Al Lawson of Tallahassee gives a speech, they're usually poised for a bone-headed remark. Even longshot gubernatorial candidate Bud Chiles drew one recently as he hunted for elusive supporters in Ybor City.

They're campaign video­graphers, so-called "trackers," assigned to monitor rivals, record what they say and, ideally, catch an idiotic quote. In the YouTube era, they are nearly as indispensable to candidates as breath mints and fundraising consultants.

"They seem to be everywhere I go — filming along with someone asking mean questions,'' chuckled Republican gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott.

Rival campaigns have sent spies to monitor one another's events forever, but digital technology over the past decade has made it easier to capture — and capitalize on — gaffes or flip-flops. Never has the practice been so widespread and visible in Florida as this chaotic election year.

(Story here)

[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 10:45am]


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