By Chris W. Cox
NRA-ILA Executive Director
In our August issue, we introduced you to Sheriff David Clarke of Milwaukee County, Wis. Sheriff Clarke is quickly becoming one of the most effective and powerful voices in support of our Second Amendment-protected freedom. And because of that, he earned a political target on his back from none other than Michael Bloomberg himself.
Sheriff Clarke was up for re-election—as a Democrat—in the Wisconsin primary election this past August. I’ll let the sheriff describe the situation in his own words: “Mr. Bloomberg, the former Mayor of New York, made a huge political miscalculation when he sauntered into my territory of Milwaukee County, Wis.—a solid-blue county that overwhelmingly votes Democrat—expecting an easy signature win for his failing crusade to disarm law-abiding Americans,” Clarke wrote in The Washington Times.
Why did Bloomberg focus on this race? His spokesman told the Wall Street Journal that “the issue of guns is one that [Bloomberg] cares an awful lot about and there’s a very clear contrast on that issue in this race.” But the political message was darker, and unmistakable. Bloomberg sent an emissary to Sheriff Clarke to tell him that “this one is personal with me.” Bloomberg desperately wanted to knock the sheriff off the national stage and send a message to law enforcement officials everywhere.
What drew Bloomberg’s ire? Sheriff Clarke told the residents of his county that they should be prepared to defend themselves against criminal attack. “Calling 911 and waiting is no longer your best option,” he said in public service announcements that quickly drew national attention. Another announcement from the sheriff heralded the passage of Right-to-Carry legislation in Wisconsin, saying “Armed criminals are being put back on the street by a soft-on-crime court system. … are you prepared to handle a life or death threat? Wisconsin Personal Protection Act now gives you the same advantage that I have.”
Bloomberg found a local ally to help funnel his cash into the election. It turns out that Milwaukee has its own version of Bloomberg, a county executive named Chris Abele who does not appreciate Sheriff Clarke’s pro-gun stance and who is independently wealthy. Sound familiar? One estimate put the combined spending of Abele and Bloomberg to oust Sheriff Clarke at more than $800,000—a staggering sum for a municipal race. Their ads mischaracterized the sheriff’s record, with one going so far as to say “Clarke’s mismanagement is threatening our safety.” Another insulted him, calling him a “fake cowboy.”
Sheriff Clarke was unfazed by the onslaught of negative, deceptive advertising. The sheriff calmly told the local media that “I trust the voters. The voters can’t be bought.” And he was absolutely correct. On Election Day, voter turnout nearly doubled from his previous election against the same opponent. Bloomberg’s ham-fisted meddling influenced thousands of Republican voters to “cross over” and cast their ballots for Clarke in the Democratic primary, which is perfectly legal in Wisconsin. And by the end of the day, Clarke had prevailed by a vote of 52 to 48 percent.
Bloomberg was not heard from in the wake of his defeat, but Sheriff Clarke had plenty to say. “This was no ordinary defeat for Mr. Bloomberg. … Losing to a local sheriff in a county dominated by Democratic Party voters just might have set his futile movement back to a point of no recovery,” Sheriff Clarke wrote in The Washington Times.
His comment hearkened back to the remarks of Colorado State Senator Angela Giron, who was subject to a recall election after she voted for a package of Bloomberg-backed gun restrictions. Her message before her recall vote was clear. “If they [Bloomberg’s group] lose even one of these seats, they might as well fold it up. And they understand that,” she told The New Republic.
But apparently they don’t understand that, because in the wake of each defeat, Bloomberg just steps up the funding for the next election he tries to buy with his inexhaustible billions of personal wealth.
That brings our story to November 4, Election Day, just a few short weeks from when you will read this column. By then, Bloomberg is likely to have spent an astounding $50 million to meddle in elections across the country, trying every outlandish tactic he can think of to defeat candidates who support our Second Amendment-protected rights. His goal is to pack Congress with anti-gun politicians who will rubberstamp the Obama/Bloomberg gun control agenda.
It will take all of our votes to stop him. Go to the polls on November 4, and Vote Freedom First!
James W. Porter II, PRESIDENT
Allan Cors, FIRST VICE PRESIDENT
Pete Brownell, SECOND VICE PRESIDENT
Wayne LaPierre, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT
Edward J. Land Jr., SECRETARY
Wilson H. Phillips Jr., TREASURER
Kyle Weaver, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, GENERAL OPERATIONS
Christopher W. Cox, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, INSTITUTE FOR LEGISLATIVE ACTION