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JATP Responds to Jeffrey Clark (I, VA05)

Charlottesville, VA – October 22, 2010

I thank Mr. Clark for issuing a response to my recent statement regarding his candidacy in the Virginia Fifth District congressional race.  In his reply, Mr. Clark verified my truthful account of his unconditional pledge to me and the Jefferson Area Tea Party (JATP) by confirming, “I did inform Mrs. Thorpe that it was not my intention to be only a spoiler and if that were the case I would drop out.”

As the Chair of the Jefferson Area Tea Party (JATP), it is my privilege to act as a representative for the many patriots who comprise this organization.

Overwhelmingly, they are justifiably livid at Mr. Clark for reneging on his promise to drop out of the race if and when he deemed he had no chance of winning and could only be a spoiler.  Since the release of our recent statements, Mr. Clark has told me he has no expectation of winning the election, and that he is solely focused now on pursuing a resolution to the side issue of inclusion in congressional debates with both State Senator Robert Hurt and Congressman Tom Perriello.

Pursuant to his goal of inclusion, Mr. Clark said in his recent statement, “If I were to drop from the race now, it would end the case currently being handled by the Rutherford Institute and would without question allow this despicable practice to continue.”  Regardless of the perceived or actual merit of his quest, the JATP contends it alone does not ethically release him from his promise to us.

In a July 20 press release, the JATP upheld the best interest of voters by calling for the inclusion of all three candidates in debates.  Also in the interest of voters, I attempted to organize a compromise format round-robin debate in September.  Mr. Clark told me at that time he approached State Senator Hurt privately with the identical offer he extended in his recent statement; if, in exchange for inclusion in one televised debate, he did not poll at 25% approval or higher, he would drop out of the race.  The offer was declined and the proposed debate was dropped.

In addition to our efforts, The Rutherford Institute announced on September 22 its intention to mount a legal challenge on Mr. Clark’s behalf.  During the four weeks following that announcement, there was no attorney working on the case.  In response to the likelihood an attorney could still be found, Rutherford Institute spokeswoman Nisha Mohammed was quoted in an October 15 article in The Daily Progress as saying; “We’re still looking, but it looks doubtful at this point due to attorney availability.”

Is it not reasonable for the JATP to doubt that without an attorney working the case up until now, at present, or likely to do so in the next eleven days, that it can expect a dramatically positive impact to the status of Mr. Clark’s candidacy in the waning days to the election?  The JATP believes that a substantial effort has been made on Mr. Clark’s behalf to help him gain entry into the debates.  Since State Senator Hurt shows no sign of acquiescence, we think it is reasonable to presume now that Mr. Clark’s condition for dropping out of the race will not be satisfied.

With three Hurt-Perriello debates concluded, his poling numbers consistently in low single digits, and only eleven days left until the election, we have assessed for ourselves that Mr. Clark’s candidacy has become that of the spoiler candidate he insisted would be unacceptable to him.  While it is too late for Mr. Clark to remove his name from the ballot, we suggest that if he chooses to keep his promise by effectively dropping out of the race, he could do so by holding a televised press conference to announce his intention.  We know citizens will be watching for his action or inaction with great interest.

The JATP cannot force Mr. Clark to bow out of the race, but we strongly appeal to him to re-examine his status and voluntarily honor his pledge.  During his campaign, he rightly called on Americans to demand honesty and accountability from candidates and elected officials, not allowing them to say one thing then do another.  We heard him and agreed with his message, and now call on him as a fellow tea party participant to resist hypocrisy and lead by example.

Carole Thorpe
JATP Chairman

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Rob Schilling is founder of the multi-award-winning Schilling Show Blog and News, proprietor of Schilling Show Media; host of both the Schilling Show Unleashed Podcast and WINA's The Schilling Show heard weekdays at noon; husband; father; worship leader, Christian recording artist and Community Watchdog.


  1. Whether Jeff Clark intends it or not, the Democratic Party of Virginia is certainly doing its best to use him as a spoiler. I received two mailers today. One blasts Hurt for not debating Clark, then goes on to tout Clark as the more genuinely conservative candidate – Paid for by the Democratic Party of Virginia. The other comes from the DCCC and asks, “Jeffery Clark. Is he too conservative for Virginia?” Neither Hurt nor Perriello is even mentioned on this second piece. The Democrats are tripping over each other trying to raise Clark’s profile.

    Nice going, Jeff!

    Or does the 5th have its very own, Democrat funded, fake Tea Party candidate? If Mr. Clark refuses to bow out now, he might as well be just that.

  2. Yeah Nice Going! Hmmm, D-rat funded, fake Tea Party Candidate? Lets see:

    1) Make promises to gain support. (then promptly ignore them, b/c the “ends justify the means”)

    2) Make baseless accusations to justify attempting to “hold them to their own rules as I define them”– (to their detriment only–H/t to Saul Alinsky)

    3) Be critical of the 2 party system. (appeal to voter frustration, then align w/whoever will keep your name out there, b/c ends always justify means!)

    Now, I don’t know if Clark has ever read Alinsky…but…

  3. From my point of view, Mr. Clark has behaved from the outset as a petty individual, professing an interest in conservatism, yet exhibiting little more than a personal distaste for the GOP’s primary-elected candidate, Robert Hurt. He has repeatedly berated the man — and I’d not argue that Robert Hurt is a perfect candidate, nor above reproach — yet offered little as an alternative.

    Hearing Mr. Clark speak on Rob’s show, and at a gathering in Albemarle, I’d say he handles himself, the conservative viewpoint, and issues of interest well. Would that the GOP candidate be as polished in his speaking ability.

    The fact remains that Clark’s run began on a note of discord, and never gained traction. Then comes the disclosure of personal financial problems, which he apparently decided were no business of, or concern to, his potential constituency. “No big deal” — this from a candidate who would assume some level of fiscal reponsibility on our behalf, and is particularly disturbed with how the government handles other people’s money.

    At that point, ethically and honorably, step up, own your mistake, apolgize. No such luck.

    I understand standing up for principle. But you need a leg to stand on. It’s beyond time for Clark to man up.

    Aside from that, I seriously doubt that he will pull enough votes to make a difference, either way. Let’s hope not.

  4. What Carole Thorpe fails to understand is that those of us intending to vote for Clark do so as a matter of principle. We cannot be manipulated by the Tea Party the way the Tea Party has been manipulated by the Republican Party. If Clark drops out of the race, we aren’t going to vote for Hurt – we won’t vote. You won’t bring change to the Republican Party by rolling over for them when they force a party hack like Robert Hurt down your gullet. What the hell was all this Tea Party fervor about if you going to accept an insipid, spineless, career politician like Hurt – what was the point?

    Still waiting for someone to make the case for why Hurt is a better choice than Clark by contrasting their views on the issues.

  5. George, did you forget that Robert Hurt won a primary. Since I voted for him in the primary, I am one of the people who is forcing him “down your gullet”. By the way, who is ‘we’? Part of the 1-2% of Clark’s supporters. I doubt that a majority of them would agree with ‘you’!
    Just what is it about Hurt that makes him an insipid, spineless, career politician?
    I find Clark’s campaign to be baseless, incoherent, inconsistent and obviously disingenous!!
    Stay home, don’t vote, who cares.

  6. Hurt won a primary, because his party selected a nominating process that ensured his victory.

    Spineless – he doesn’t have the courage to debate Jeff Clark, who, by your own admission, is a marginal candidate. If he doesn’t have the balls to debate Clark, then he sure as hell doesn’t have the balls to take any action in DC that might cost him votes. Therefore, don’t expect anything from Hurt except more of the same garbage that got this country in the mess it’s in now.

    Career politician – Hurt says “his career in public service is unmatched”. He defines himself as a career politician. He’s been in elected office for over 10 years and is now trying to move up the ladder from state rep to federal rep? History shows when people are elected to Congress they stay there as long as they can. You cannot make a credible case that he is not a career politician.

    Insipid – Webster’s dictionary defines as “lacking in qualities that interest, stimulate, or challenge.” I think that pretty well sums him up. The republicans could have run a corpse against Perriello and won this election. No one is voting FOR Hurt, they are all voting AGAINST Perriello. I understand why people are voting against Perriello, the guy is despicable. But, unless and until we get past voting for the lesser of two evils, this country will continue it’s long. slow decline. Robert Hurt is not the answer, he is part of the problem.

    Who cares, you ask – almost no one. That’s why we are left with choices like Hurt. The Democrats and Republicans have convinced 75% of the voters there is no alternative to them.

  7. TG for primary elections. It stands to reason that any other means is forcing marginal candidates with limited appeal “down our gullet”. How is it that a few select people would choose who appears on the ballot, other than their own false sense of entitlement and/or superiority?

    Maybe I am a rare bird, but I’ve never voted for somebody purely out of disdain or hatred of their opponent, and I resent folks who suggest otherwise.


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