As a follow-up to this enlightening Politico piece, I thought I'd ask Matt Doheny's campaign whether he'd been stalked by Democratic operatives outside of his home.
Sort of, it turns out.
Democratic operatives have posted raw video footage of the New York City apartment buildings where Mr. Doheny, a Republican running against Democratic Rep. Bill Owens in November, used to live. An Alexandria Bay native, Mr. Doheny moved back to the north country several years ago. He was using the apartment to commute back-and-forth from New York City to the north country seven years ago, he said.
"I'm running for Congress because I believe that we're going in the wrong direction for the country," Mr. Doheny said in a statement emailed by his campaign (he was interviewed for the Politico article, but it didn't make the cut). "So let's talk about the issues as opposed to who can have what tracker and who can put what pictures on a website or whatever the Democrats are doing."
The seconds-long clips are posted under the username NY21RawFootage2012.
Placing the clips on YouTube, according to the Politico article, allows anyone in the world to grab the footage — including outside groups that could use them in campaign spots painting Mr. Doheny as out of touch with the north country. A spokesman for the DCCC declined to discuss internal strategy.
The shots in and of themselves don't show much — but they do demonstrate the seedy underbelly of political operations, including accusations of invasion of privacy, in what figures to be an extremely competitive race.
A far-away shot of an apartment building isn't on the same level of invasion of privacy as some of the efforts detailed in the Politico article. Democratic operatives have posted addresses and have literally waited in bushes outside other Republicans' homes. But I imagine that there's the same goal of illustrating disconnect between constituents and candidates in mind.
Republicans, too, have used this tactic. In 2009, they followed Mr. Owens, of Plattsburgh, for a commercial that painted him as a faux superhero.
Democrats haven't done anything creepy like, say, fly a helicopter over Mr. Doheny's June wedding, said Josh Schwerin, a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spokesman, calling the idea "laughable." Mayor Jeff Graham, a Doheny supporter (albeit often off-message), has suggested that a low-flying helicopter was an act of political opposition research.
Neither Mr. Doheny nor his campaign said that Democrats were flying over his wedding. Moving right along...
The Doheny campaign did accuse Democrats of "lying in wait" outside of a Washington, D.C. bar earlier this year and taking an out-of-context photo of him kissing a woman. The photo was leaked to Gawker, and while Democrats said they didn't take the picture, the DCCC says it was evidence that he "cheated" on his then-fiancee. Mr. Doheny said the photo demonstrated an innocent kiss on the cheek between old friends.