Johnson throws Clarke under the bus
Friday, Apr 27, 2012
* Jerry Clarke has taken a ton of flak for being too close to Congressman Tim Johnson. Clarke was once Johnson’s chief of staff and there has been a nagging suspicion among many that Johnson dropped out of his campaign to help his old friend.
Johnson ain’t exactly the most popular guy among Republican political leaders in the 13th Congressional District these days. The GOP big dogs are furious that he would pull a stunt like this, so Clarke’s close ties to Johnson have hurt him with some. And the fact that Clarke reserved a campaign website address almost two months before Johnson’s retirement announcement has only further damaged him with the county party chairmen. Even if Clarke is telling the truth that he was just preparing for a run two years down the line, it sure looks fishy and people don’t like to be lied to, especially people who are about to hand out one of the greatest plums available.
It wasn’t all that long ago that being a congressional staffer was a good route up the ladder. Mark Kirk, Ray LaHood and plenty of others moved up that way. Times have changed, though, particularly in the GOP.
Johnson can be an odd duck, so I’m not sure whether he might’ve thought issuing a statement saying Clarke shouldn’t be considered as a ballot replacement could actually help Jerry, but I really doubt it’s gonna help him. It’s also possible that Johnson just wants to disassociate himself from this entire mess…
Clarke’s spokesman said his candidate is staying in the race. I’m not sure whether that’ll actually happen, though. This has become a circus, and that bodes very ill for Jerry. And, really, that’s too bad because I think Jerry would make a heckuva congressman.