A Question of Judgment: Does Rebecca Bradley Endorse the Radical and Repugnant Views of Her Campaign Fundraiser David Clarke?

Candidate for State High Court Looking the Other Way on Clarke’s Dangerous Views in Her Chase for Campaign Cash

MADISON, Wis. — Days before authoring a letter seeking campaign donations on Rebecca Bradley’s behalf, Tea Party Sheriff David Clarke declared that, “… blacks sell drugs and involve themselves in criminal behavior instead of a more socially acceptable lifestyle — because they’re uneducated, they’re lazy, and they’re morally bankrupt.” But this is not the only, just the most recent, outrageous comment from Clarke. The close association with a politician like Clarke, who routinely expresses dangerous views far outside the mainstream, calls into question the judgment of Bradley said One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross.

“David Clarke didn’t only recently say something racist and untoward. He has a long and disgraceful history of making comments that cover the spectrum from the ridiculous to the dangerous. You would have thought someone who believes they are fit to sit on the state’s highest court would show better judgment in tapping campaign surrogates,” said Ross.

He noted that Bradley has, to date, refused to repudiate Clarke’s rants, raising the spectre that she either agrees with his views or is willing to look the other way on his repugnant views as she seeks campaign cash.

Among the more dangerous and outrageous views and stunts from Bradley’s campaign fundraiser David Clarke are:

  • Advising Milwaukee County residents that 9-1-1 was not their best option and instead encouraging them to pursue vigilante style justice. In taxpayer financed radio ads, Clarke urged citizens to arm themselves and shoot people whom they felt threatened by, calling 9-1-1 only after potentially shooting and killing someone;
  • Believes efforts to enact gun control laws will result in a “second American Revolution, the likes of which would make the first Revolution pale by comparison”;
  • Supported by and named “Sheriff of the Year” in 2013 by the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (CSPOA), an organization that encourages local sheriffs to ignore federal laws, like firearm regulations, that they believe are at odds with the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights;
  • Was praised at a press conference featuring CSPOA Executive Director Richard Mack at the ranch of right-wing rancher Cliven Bundy during his standoff with the federal government. Mack praises Clarke as one of a number of sheriffs “standing against gun control.” While at the Bundy ranch Mack, who according to the Southern Poverty Law Center has ties to right-wing militia groups, advocated for using women as human shields to generate sympathy.

Ross concluded, “Rebecca Bradley has chosen to associate herself with David Clarke, empowering him to represent her campaign and raise her cash despite his radical, hateful and dangerous views. Aligning herself with someone who has been honored by an organization that encourages law enforcement to ignore the law raises serious questions about Rebecca Bradley’s fitness to serve in public office.”

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One Wisconsin Now is a statewide communications network specializing in effective earned media and online organizing to advance progressive leadership and values.