MADISON, Wis. — When challenged in a recent candidate debate about featuring Wisconsin’s leading elected homophobe, Tea Party Sheriff David Clarke in fundraising appeals, and now campaign ads, Rebecca Bradley declared, “I couldn’t possibly agree with everything all my supporters believe …” One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross challenged Bradley to cite an instance in which she disagreed with Clarke.
“Rebecca Bradley has chosen to put homophobic, Tea Party Sheriff David Clarke front and center in her campaign, raising her cash and featuring him in campaign ads,” said Ross. “If she’s truly sincere and wants to be believed that she’s changed her views, David Clarke has said plenty of reprehensible things and she ought to immediately denounce his comments and renounce his support.”
Bradley has been under fire after being exposed on the record in newspaper writings calling LGBTQ individuals “degenerates” and “queers” who engage in “abnormal and immoral” behavior. She has subsequently been challenged on the sincerity of her apology to “those offended” and her contention her views have changed while being so closely associated with an outspoken homophobe like Clarke who made incendiary comments himself after the United States Supreme Court issued its ruling striking down same-sex marriage bans in 2015.
To help sift through the volume of inane comments made by the Tea Party Sheriff, Ross offered a selection of five of Clarke’s comments with which Bradley could disagree and denounce:
Clarke advised Milwaukee County residents that 9-1-1 was not their best option and instead encouraged 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;
Clarke 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”;
Clarke is supported by and was 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. He was even 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. 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;
After the landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality, Clarke took to social media to post, “Next is rage, then revolt.” Not content to stop there, Clarke in a media interview pondered, “… who would have thought that in the 21st century homosexuality would come out of the closet and churches would be forced to go into the closet?” and opined, “If we don’t resist, we can see what is happening before our eyes …” It was also reported that in his radio show he advocated for, “pitchforks and torches” and that, “If you call yourself an American, then you have to start a revolution in this country after what happened last week at the United States Supreme Court”;
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.”
“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. Any suggestion that she has changed her ways or her own hateful views will ring hollow until she denounces her campaign surrogate, David Clarke. She has lots of material from which to choose,” concluded Ross.