Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke (shown) won his primary election on Tuesday over Bloomberg-supported Chris Moews, a Milwaukee police lieutenant, 52 percent to 48 percent. Because there is no Republican candidate running for the position, Clarke’s win virtually assures him of another four-year term in November.
Chris Cox of the National Rifle Association, which had been helping Clarke’s campaign, offered his congratulations:
On behalf of the NRA's five million members, we would like to congratulate Sheriff David A. Clarke on his hard fought victory in yesterday's Primary election for Milwaukee County Sheriff. Sheriff Clarke's outspoken commitment to the Second Amendment earned him the admiration of NRA members and gun owners nationwide.
Cox then noted one of the main reasons that Clarke won and Moews lost: Bloomberg was helping Moews. "His dedication to freedom and the Constitution also earned him the wrath of gun control elitist Michael Bloomberg and his allies, who spent over half a million dollars (more money than both candidates in this race combined) trying to defeat Sheriff Clarke. But in the end, Bloomberg's money could not buy the hearts and minds of the voters," Cox said.
Bloomberg was fighting an uphill battle to defeat Clarke. First, his enormous ego gets in the way. Back in April, Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York City with a net worth exceeding (according to current estimates) some $34 billion, announced his intention to take on the NRA frontally by combining his Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG) and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America into one organization, Everytown for Gun Safety. He said, “We’ve got to make them [the NRA] afraid of us.”
When asked how much he personally would be contributing to the new group, Bloomberg responded,
I put $50 million this year [and] last year into coal, [another] $53 million into oceans. Certainly a number like that [for Everytown], $50 million. Let’s see what happens.
At that same time he announced that with all his good works, at his death he will be welcomed into the heavenly realms with open arms:
I am telling you if there is a God, when I get to heaven I’m not stopping to be interviewed. I am heading straight in. I have earned my place in heaven. It’s not even close.
So far his “good works” haven’t worked out all that well. Despite his wealth and his alleged influence, he was unable to get the Senate to approve background check legislation that President Obama was counting on to advance his gun control agenda. And he was unable to save two Colorado politicians from being recalled for promoting his gun control agenda there last summer.
Bloomberg was also faced with preemptive strikes by Sheriff Clarke, who opened the year 2013 with radio ads to Milwaukeeans warning them to arm themselves. One of the more effective ones was this:
I’m Sheriff David Clarke, and I want to talk to you about something personal: your safety. It’s no longer a spectator sport. I need you in the game. But are you ready? With officers laid off and furloughed, simply calling 911 and waiting is no longer your best option. You could 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 of firearms, so you can defend yourself until we get there. You have a duty to protect yourself and your family. We’re partners now. Can I count on you?
This is Sheriff David Clarke. Violent crime went up nearly 10 percent in Milwaukee. Are you the next victim? You don't have to be, but that's your call. 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. It can be a great equalizer, but you always have to think survival. Remember, it's you and me now.
Those ads generated a request from rabid anti-gun CNN personality Piers Morgan for Clarke to be a guest on his Piers Morgan Live show. Morgan, along with his other guest, Milwaukee anti-gun Mayor Tom Barrett, attacked the notion that citizens could no longer rely on 911 in emergencies. This gave Clarke national attention long before this month’s reelection campaign and long before Bloomberg decided to fund his opponent.
It didn’t hurt any, either, for Clarke to be invited to speak at the NRA’s national convention in April of this year, where he was voted one of the top speakers. It also didn’t hurt when Law Street published its report “Crime in America” last November naming Milwaukee as the 10th most dangerous large city (over 200,000) in America, confirming that it desperately needs a strong police department working with armed citizens willing to take responsibility for their own personal safety.
But the coup de grâce that effectively ended the campaign against Clarke was the revelation that Bloomberg, in the weeks before the primary, pumped more than $150,000 of his own money into Lieutenant Moews' campaign. When Clarke learned of the fact, he replied simply: “I trust the voters. The voters can’t be bought.”
It may be too soon to claim that the bloom is off Bloomberg’s rose. If, however, it is true that money cannot buy happiness, Bloomberg is at least learning that it also cannot buy credibility or, for that matter, elections. At least not in Milwaukee. And neither can it buy heaven.
Photo of Sheriff David Clarke at a NRA convention in April: AP Images
A graduate of Cornell University and a former investment advisor, Bob is a regular contributor to The New American magazine and blogs frequently at www.LightFromTheRight.com, primarily on economics and politics.