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Assembly candidate accuses rival of spying on his house

June 15, 2020 GMT

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A black state Assembly candidate is accusing a white rival of harassing him by taking photos of his house. His white opponent says it was all a misunderstanding.

Samba Baldeh, who is black, and Walt Stewart, who is white, are two of four Democrats vying to replace outgoing state Rep. Melissa Sargent’s seat representing parts of Madison.

Baldeh on Sunday accused Stewart of driving past his house with two other white men and taking photos. Baldeh said he confronted Stewart, who gave him a “nonsensical response” and then identified himself as Baldeh’s Assembly opponent. When pressed Stewart said that he “just happened to be in the neighborhood, saw his house and decided to take pictures,” according to Baldeh.

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“This is not about me, this is not about him, this is about what’s happening in this country, so if he cannot see that it is absolutely threatening in these times for three white men to slowly drive by a black man’s house . . . then he has a judgement problem,” Baldeh told the Wisconsin State Journal.

Stewart issued a statement saying that Baldeh “misstated” the incident. He said he, his campaign manager and a videographer were touring the area to gather ideas for a campaign video, and when he slowed to point out Baldeh’s house, the videographer took a photo. He said he agreed to delete the photo at Baldeh’s request.

“Disturbing Ald. Baldeh and his family was not my intention and I apologize for this unfortunate misunderstanding causing him and his family any unease,” Stewart said.