Tea Party Again Asks Jeff Clark to Withdraw his Campaign

October 22, 2010

Carole Thorpe, Chair of the Jefferson Area Tea Party (JATP), sent the following response to Fifth District independent candidate, Jeff Clark.

Thorpe's letter is a response to the letter Clark sent the JATP on Oct. 15. In part, she writes the local Tea Party is, "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."

The full written response from Carole Thorpe follows:

"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."

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