Bruce Murphy
Back in the News

Will David Clarke Take On Tammy Baldwin?

"America's Sheriff" may run against Democratic U.S. Senator, national story suggests.

By - Mar 14th, 2023 05:49 pm

David Clarke. File photo by Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America [CC BY-SA 2.0 (]

David Clarke. File photo by Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America (CC BY-SA 2.0)

It’s that time again. Former Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke is being touted as a possible Republican challenger to incumbent U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin.

“Clarke has courted speculation in the Badger State that he is considering a challenge,” the Daily Beast reports.

“Clarke has launched a new podcast where he expounds on his conservative views and lambasts the likes of Sens. Mitt Romney (R-UT) and Susan Collins (R-ME) as ‘RINOs.’ His fans on social media have urged him to run for Senate, and Democratic operatives have begun to view him as a potential candidate.”

A representative for Clarke offered the vaguest of statements as to his intentions. “As time goes on he may make a determination of what to do with the branding he has built up over the years, but not now,” said his spokesperson Judy Wilkinson. “Clarke would never take anything off the table as it relates to his future.”

Got that? Everything is still on the table for “America’s Sheriff,” as he likes to call himself.

It’s worth noting that there was an “official draft campaign trying to persuade Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. to run for a U.S. Senate seat in Wisconsin in 2018,” back when Baldwin last ran for reelection. The “political action committee raised over $2 million to entice David Clarke into a Senate run,” Open Secrets reported back then, even as Clarke denounced the PAC as a “scam” and dismissed rumors he would seek a higher office.

If nothing else, that PAC proved you could use his name to raise money. “Unlike other potential GOP candidates, Clarke boasts real popularity in the national MAGA movement for his vocal backing of Trump, hardcore lawman image, and long record of frequently outrageous statements,” the Daily Beast notes.

But compared to a more mainstream Republican like Congressman Mike Gallagher, who is said to be considering running for Baldwin’s seat, Clarke would bring a lot of baggage into this campaign, including, in no particular order: (1) Getting dropped by Fox News for making statements too crazy even for that station; (2) calling for Trump supporters to take up “pitchforks and torches” against Democrats and the media; (3) inviting the far-right Proud Boys gang to start a chapter Wisconsin; (4) backing Donald Trump‘s false claims of election fraud; (5) helping raise donations for the We Build a Wall group that federal prosecutors charged with defrauding donors; (6) urging Jan. 6 rioters not to cooperate with law enforcement; and (7) Getting temporarily banned from Twitter for calling on his followers to attack members of the media and “MAKE THEM TASTE THEIR OWN BLOOD.”

And those are just the highlights.

It’s also worth noting, Clarke has never run as a Republican in Wisconsin. He ran successfully as a Democrat for Milwaukee County Sheriff, finished a distant third in the nonpartisan race for Milwaukee Mayor in 2004 and considered running for mayor again in 2016, but decided against it.

Not surprisingly Democrats expressed delight at the prospect of Clarke entering the race. “If David Clarke wants to put his record of failure and MAGA conspiracy theories up against Senator Baldwin’s work fighting for Wisconsin families, we are more than happy to have that fight,” Arik Wolk, Rapid Response Director for the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, told the Daily Beast.

All of which suggests Clarke won’t end up running. But even the speculation about this will help him rebuild that “branding” Wilkinson mentions and she is helping him by leaving the prospect of his candidacy on the table. Wilkinson’s agency also represents clients like Sheriff Wayne Ivey, “America’s Most Politically Incorrect Sheriff,” and Lindsey Graham, “the Patriot Barbie – a loud, proud, pro-gun, pro-life, Jesus-loving, red-blooded conservative, Republican woman,” and Pastor Mark Burns, ‘labeled by Time Magazine as ‘Donald Trump’s Top Pastor.’”

Clarke fits right into that group.

10 thoughts on “Back in the News: Will David Clarke Take On Tammy Baldwin?”

  1. Polaris says:

    How he ever won elections in Milwaukee County is beyond me.

  2. Ryan Cotic says:

    He would help increase the diversity of representation for our state so might be a good idea.

  3. DanRyan86 says:

    This right-wing influencer trope causes these people to run for office once their engagement starts sagging. 100% he is only considering running because he is not getting the engagement he wants on his podcast or whatever the hell he does these days. Winning is not the point, he only has to run, throw out accusations, get a bunch of people nice and angry, and then he will see the traffic to his linked and sponsored merchandise fly through the roof. It’s Alex Jones’s model. All of them are using it from MTG to Gaettz. If he wins he has the intention of just using it as a platform for his other income streams. That’s the right-wing political grift, none of them want the government job, it’s just a stepping stone and a tool for their online media presence and income streams. I’d prefer someone who isn’t crazy and actually wants to do the job to help everyday Wisconsinites.

  4. Paul Nannis says:

    Yes, please run
    we need a joke like you in the race

  5. Polaris says:

    None of us have escaped life without bumps and bruises along the way, but David Clarke is a deeply wounded person.

  6. JMcD says:

    “Good idea?” I think not. We have an effective female, openly gay representative in that position who has and continues to earn her seat and is a perfect example of diversity. And, by the way, the Sheriff’s Department was instantly bettered by his departure. Buh bye.

  7. gerrybroderick says:

    “America’s Sheriff?” Really? He has about as much credibility as “America’s Mayor.”

  8. Ryan Cotic says:

    I think it is mostly racism why people oppose Clarke. Very sad to see in this day and age as I thought we were past all that.

  9. Jake formerly of the LP says:

    It’s mostly racism that gave Tommy Clarke his career, as the “black friend” of Charlie Sykes and other GOP race-baiters.

    Clarke recognizes his 15 minutes are up among anyone worth a darn, so he’s talking about this as one last grift to try to grab more attention and dollars from mediocre rubes. If he is all WisGOP has to offer, then Tammy Baldwin will win by 20 points next year, instead of the 11 she won by last time.

  10. kaygeeret says:

    I am an old white lady and I oppose Clark because he is a gigantic blowhard, loudmouth with not a single solution to any modern problem.

    I don’t give a rat’s behind what color he is, where he lives or eats.

    He is a jerk and I want him gone from WI so I don’t have to listen to him or hear about him ever again.

Leave a Reply

You must be an Urban Milwaukee member to leave a comment. Membership, which includes a host of perks, including an ad-free website, tickets to marquee events like Summerfest, the Wisconsin State Fair and the Florentine Opera, a better photo browser and access to members-only, behind-the-scenes tours, starts at $9/month. Learn more.

Join now and cancel anytime.

If you are an existing member, sign-in to leave a comment.

Have questions? Need to report an error? Contact Us