In recent weeks, Michael Bloomberg’s campaign against gun rights have continued without abatement, as the New York City billionaire aimed his checkbook at Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, a strong supporter of the right of people to keep and bear arms for their defense. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Bloomberg, through his political action committee, Independence USA, spent $150,000 on advertisements to unseat Sheriff Clarke in this week’s Democratic primary.
However, as many of you may already know, Bloomberg failed. Sheriff Clarke won on Tuesday by 52-48 percent and is expected to win re-election in November.
Sheriff Clarke incurred Bloomberg’s wrath by advising his constituents to consider arming themselves for self-defense. In a 2013 radio public service announcement, Clarke told Milwaukeeans, “With officers laid-off and furloughed, simply calling 9-1-1 and waiting is no longer your best option. You can beg for mercy from a violent criminal, hide under the bed, or you can fight back; but are you prepared? Consider taking a certified safety course in handling a firearm so you can defend yourself until we get there. You have a duty to protect yourself and your family. We’re partners now.”
Sheriff Clarke followed with another PSA, telling his constituents about Right-to-Carry legislation enacted by Wisconsinin 2011. Sheriff Clarke said, “Armed criminals are being put back on the street by a soft-on-crime court system even before the ink dries on police reports. Are you prepared to handle a life or death threat? Wisconsin’s Personal Protection Act now gives you the same advantage that I have. Now it’s the crook who has to wonder what you might do.”
Sheriff Clarke’s pro-defense ads garnered him national attention, as he thereafter appeared on Fox News and CNN, was profiled in NRA’s America’s First Freedom magazine, and spoke at this year’s NRA Annual Meeting.
However, his statements also drew the attention of Bloomberg and the Greater Wisconsin Committee, which spent $400,000 against Sheriff Clarke, some of which paid for ads attacking him for his stance on self-defense.
According to the Journal Sentinel, the Committee’s campaign against Sheriff Clarke is suspected to have been backed by wealthy Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele, a longtime adversary who describes himself as “pro-gun-control.” Also teaming up against Sheriff Clarke was Milwaukee’s anti-gun mayor, Tom Barrett, a member of Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns. F-rated by the NRA, Barrett supported a ban on popular semi-automatic firearms and opposed Wisconsin’s Right-to-Carry legislation.
Sheriff Clarke’s opponents spent over a half million dollars toward his defeat, but NRA mobilized our grassroots network of supporters on Clarke’s behalf. Sheriff Clarke’s victory proves that millionaires and billionaires need to think twice before assuming their money can trump the will of the voters. Just prior to Election Day, Sheriff Clarke made the same point, saying, “I trust the voters. The voters can’t be bought.” That’s a lesson gun owners should be ready to teach again on Election Day in November.