What are those out-of-state groups trying to draft Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. to run for the U.S. Senate doing with all the cash that’s rolling in?
We now have at least a partial answer: Polls, parties, bobbleheads and cherry lip balm.
(The polls, by the way, show Clarke doing well against Republicans but losing to U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin. More on that later.)
The Sheriff Clarke for Senate committee, the official Draft Clarke super PAC, has raised more than $300,000 from across the country in about a month’s time. Remember, Clarke has given no indication — none — that he wants to run for the U.S. Senate next year.
With its funds, the super PAC is helping to sponsor the Conservative Political Action Conference, the annual right-wing to-do that is being held this week in National Harbor, Md. Clarke speaks on a panel Thursday, has a book signing Friday and is the final speaker Saturday.
The super PAC is giving out free cherry lip balm in the swag bags at the conservative gathering. The label says the product is for “the treatment of low-T RINOs (Republicans In Name Only) and GOP eunuchs. Regrows guts and spines. Ineffective for Lindsey Graham-ism.”
Also, the North Carolina-based group has a “free, rolling reception” for Clarke on Friday night featuring Duane “Dog” Chapman of “Dog the Bounty Hunter” fame. The group is promising to have 18″ Clarke bobbleheads that have him saluting with one hand and trying to choke a Democrat with the other.
That’s a play on Clarke’s comment last month at the DeploraBall in Washington, D.C.: “The only reason I’ll be reaching across the aisle is to grab one of them (Democrats) by the throat.” Clarke, of course, runs as a Dem in Milwaukee County because he couldn’t get elected otherwise.
Along with that, the Sheriff Clarke for Senate and another pro-Clarke group, the Committee to Defend the President, have paid for polls by legitimate GOP firms to try to determine how the sheriff would do if he challenged Baldwin, a first-term Democrat. The assumption is Clarke would cross the aisle and run as a Republican.
The two polls — conducted by McLaughlin & Associates in Florida and Magellan Strategies in Colorado — have remarkably similar numbers.
Magellan did a live landline and cellphone survey of 500 likely 2018 general election voters and two surveys of 300 likely Republican primary voters Feb. 9-16. The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points for the general election and 5.6 percentage points in the GOP primary.
According to the poll, 49% of general election voters approved of the job Baldwin is doing while 34% disapproved. By comparison, Clarke was viewed favorably by 22% and negatively by 20%.
Head to head, Baldwin beat Clarke among general election voters by 49% to 35%, almost the exact same numbers by which she would defeat U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy, a Wisconsin Republican who announced last week that he would not be challenging Baldwin. The survey came before his announcement.
Clarke edged out Duffy by 32% to 26% when they were matched up, according to the poll.
“There is room for Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke’s support to grow, with 48% of Wisconsin voters having never heard of him,” wrote David Flaherty of Magellan in a summary of the poll results. “As more voters learn about his record as Milwaukee County sheriff, it is likely he could become a strong general election candidate.”
Maybe, maybe not. Another poll showed Clarke’s numbers have tanked in Milwaukee County, the place where voters know him best.
Anyway, Baldwin’s team members were happy with the poll results.
“This Republican-funded poll shows that people in Wisconsin support Tammy Baldwin because she’s not afraid to stand up to Washington special interests,” said Scott Spector, Baldwin’s political director.
In the McLaughlin survey of 500 likely general election voters in Wisconsin, Baldwin had an approval rating of 48%, compared with President Donald Trump, who received positive reviews from 40% of the respondents and negative ones from 53%.
Clarke led the Republican field with a 21% statewide approval rating, while Duffy came in at 19% and former Senate candidate Eric Hovde at 5%. Against Baldwin, the Milwaukee County sheriff got 40% in a general election, while Duffy and Hovde were at 39% and 36%, respectively.
“That is especially astounding in light of the fact that only 57% of those polled had even heard of Sheriff Clarke (strange, but true),” wrote Kay Daly of the official Draft Clarke committee in an email to supporters.
Officials with the super PAC declined to provide the entire poll to the Journal Sentinel.
But someone familiar with the survey said McLaughlin put eight candidates together in a hypothetical GOP primary to see who came out on top. The only ones to hit double-digits were Clarke, Duffy and Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, who hasn’t expressed an interest in the race.
Trailing far, far behind were Hovde, state Rep. Dale Kooyenga, state Sen. Leah Vukimir and former Marine Kevin Nicholson. John Schiess of Rice Lake received no votes.
Source: Journal Sentinal