Billionaire Michael R. Bloomberg could learn a thing or two from the biblical story about an Israelite soldier named David, who went up against Goliath, a giant of a man and a powerful foe. Using just a sling and a stone, David brought Goliath down to his knees and destroyed him.
Mr. Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York, made a huge political miscalculation when he sauntered into my territory of Milwaukee County, Wis. — a solid-blue county that overwhelmingly votes Democrat — expecting an easy signature win for his failing crusade to disarm law-abiding Americans.
Willing to spend up to $50 million of his wealth to help defeat any pro-gun candidate, he focuses his aim on those running for state legislative and congressional offices. His plan is to enact gun-control legislation state by state, since he realizes there is no appetite in Congress to enact federal gun-control legislation, not even for the misleading idea called universal background checks.
Two years ago, I ran a series of self-defense local radio ads advising residents that they are the first line of defense in their own safety. I told them to consider taking a firearms-safety course so they could defend themselves and their families from imminent attack. In April, I spoke at the National Rifle Association’s convention in Indianapolis, and that brought me into Mr. Bloomberg’s cross hairs.
According to one Democratic Party source, Mr. Bloomberg said of his attempt to knock me off in my re-election primary for sheriff, “This one is personal with me.” That is a sign of desperation. Yes, even billionaires can be greedy. Surely, Mr. Bloomberg saw me as an easy win that he could parade around the country as a warning to other pro-gun candidates to either get in line with his anti-gun movement or face defeat at the polls. He saw picking off a big-city, pro-gun sheriff as a prize worth landing.
So in parachuted billionaire Mr. Bloomberg, dropping $150,000 on my opponent in a weekend TV blitz that depicted me as a gun nut, hell-bent on arming every law-abiding citizen in Milwaukee County. The TV ads he financed depicted me telling residents to forgo calling 9-1-1 and to handle local policing themselves, which is as contorted a view of my personal-defense radio ads as one could imagine.
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Mr. Bloomberg’s plan didn’t work. People here are smarter than he thought, and they did not like this outsider rolling into town trying to oust Wisconsin’s only black sheriff.
Had Mr. Bloomberg done his homework, he might have decided to go elsewhere in search of his signature gun-control win. Wisconsin happens to be a state where shooting sports are popular and deer hunting is sacrosanct. State law allows people with a permit to carry concealed weapons. The fatal mistake he made was not doing his due diligence before betting on what he either thought or heard was my certain electoral demise Aug. 12. His hubris doesn’t require him to assess the political climate before he puts his money on the table.
Another liberal, radical attack interest group, the Greater Wisconsin Committee, had just committed $400,000 toward a final two-week TV ad blitz, excoriating me and building up my opponent. This attack was financed by Milwaukee’s liberal millionaire county executive, Chris Abele, and spent an unprecedented amount of outsider money for a local sheriff’s primary election anywhere.
At this point, I truly felt like David in the Bible’s Book of Samuel (17:49), outgunned and overmatched by a millionaire and a billionaire. There was no way I could match them dollar for dollar.
The rock I used to slay these two giants was conservative talk radio. I was provided daily support via program segments, which criticized the outside influence of Mr. Bloomberg’s money in Milwaukee to take down the conservative, pro-gun sheriff. Talk radio was the get-out-the-vote mechanism that drove conservatives to vote for me in record numbers. Together with the support of the black vote, Goliath Bloomberg went down to defeat 52 percent to 48 percent. He was last seen taking a beating from national liberal and conservative blogs and editorial comments that followed our win.
This was no ordinary defeat for Mr. Bloomberg’s “Mayors Against the Second Amendment” group. Losing to a local sheriff in a county dominated by Democratic Party voters just might have set his futile movement back to a point of no recovery.
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Some people might generally be in support of changes that make it more difficult for criminals to acquire guns, but they also recognize and reject the true objective of Mr. Bloomberg, which is to obliterate the right to keep and bear arms. Here in Milwaukee County, you cannot buy votes; you have to earn them.
David A. Clarke Jr. is sheriff of Milwaukee County, Wis.
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