Why won’t Clarke debate his opponent?

Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, who’s facing a tough primary challenge from Milwaukee Police Detective Chris Moews, seems to be avoiding two public debates scheduled for the two candidates, as noted by Moews in a recent press release:

Noting that Sheriff David Clarke had not confirmed his attendance at two already-scheduled debates, Sheriff candidate Chris Moews called on Clarke to meet the challenge Tuesday night.

“With the race as close as it currently stands, you would think the sheriff would be more willing to appear at these debates,” Moews said in a statement. “Good citizens have taken the time to schedule these debates and the voters deserve to know the direction that each candidate wants to take the Sheriff’s Department.”

Two local civic groups have scheduled forums for Clarke and Moews, but Clarke has refused to commit.

“We’re disappointed that Sheriff Clarke is unable to make a commitment to appear at our forum,” said Kathy Grothe of the Capitol West Neighborhood Association. “We would like our residents to make an intelligent choice on September 14th, so I’m disappointed he has been unwilling to make his case to the voters.”

“It is unfortunate that Sheriff Clarke will not be available for our very important community event,” said Bill Lang of Voces de la Frontera. “However, it is an opportunity to get to know [Moews and Republican Steven Duckhorn] even though Clarke has rejected our invitation.”

The Moews campaign pointed out that the Sheriff may not feel confident debating because of his record.

“The Clarke campaign has always focused on the Sheriff’s ‘record and accomplishments’ although they have never provided examples of either,” Moews campaign manager Dave Broker said. “Given the fact the Sheriff hasn’t hired a single new deputy since 2003 and is known for focusing more on his right-wing politics than actual law enforcement, I can’t say I blame them.”

The Capitol West Neighborhood Association forum is scheduled for September 2, while the Voces de la Frontera debate is scheduled for August 29th. While Chris Moews has accepted invitations to both events, Sheriff David Clarke has not, but given Clarke’s dismal record as Milwaukee County Sheriff, I can’t blame him for not wanting to debate someone like Chris Moews, who has some great ideas on how to change the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Department for the better.

8 comments to Why won’t Clarke debate his opponent?

  • Proud Progressive

    i think debates should be mandatory!

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  • grumps

    Maybe Moews can debate the Tom Reynolds cardboard cutout.

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  • Ed Heinzelman

    It is disappointing that Sheriff Clarke hasn’t yet committed to participate in these debates. He is doing the voters of Milwaukee a disservice and some of them will certainly take that into account. OTOH, he has the right to decline participation. And although I think debates are for the most part useful and informative I would hate to see them made mandatory. I think free speech rights also include the right to not speak. And it would just be one more election process for the govt and bureaucracy to muck up.

    And once people hear Det. Moews speak and understand his concerns with the Sheriff’s department and his understandgin of law enforcement issues in the county…well Sheriff Clarke’s ‘record’ will speak louder than words!

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    • Locke

      While I agree with your sentiment of not letting the government muck up things more than they already have, I don’t think a right to remain silent applies to people running for or serving public office in the same way. Running for elected office is a purely optional event. Though I’d like to see more quality people do it, and that in many cases, campaigning and the tremendous effort people make to be hurtful and slime candidates (especially their personal lives and things that are gross exaggerations, or entirely untrue or completely irrelevant), candidates and elected officials certainly should have a responsibility to answer the taxpayers’ questions.

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      • Ed Heinzelman

        We all have a right to remain silent, even politicians…and in Sheriff Clarke’s case he knows his Miranda rights without them being read to him!

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      • Ed Heinzelman

        Seriously, I wouldn’t want to require debates and I would want a candidate for public office lose the opportunity to pick and choose when/where he/she talks to the press or the public. That is the flip side of free speech…but of course a candidate’s reticence to speak up should be held against him/her.

        OTOH, what should we do when candidates want some press time and they can’t get it because they aren’t deep pocket or party supported candidates?

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        • Ed Heinzelman

          that should be “I wouldn’t want a candidate for public office to lose the opportunity…”

          I shouldn’t be trying to function this late after a full day at work.

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