Former Republican State Representative Michael Clark has launched a campaign to return to the State Legislature in 2020, and has set up a facebook page, as well as a YouTube video, where he announced his plans for Sunday Morning coffee meetings on Sundays at 11AM:
Those are certainly things that any challenger campaign should be doing, But Representative Clark has a larger hurdle to overcome in his comeback:
A day after a South Dakota lawmaker said business owners should be able to turn away customers based on their race in a Facebook post, he publicly apologized through the same medium.
“I made some comments here on Facebook, defending a Colorado Baker decision not create a cake for a Homosexual [sic] wedding,” he wrote in a post on Tuesday. “The comments I made were very racist. I would like to apologize for those comments. Businesses should not be able to discriminate solely based on race, sex, national origin, age, or handicap.”
That story coming in the summer before the last election didn’t just put a dent in Rep. Clark’s prior re-election efforts. The verbal gaffe absolutely decimated his election numbers:
(From Ballotpedia) Clark went from 4754 votes in 2016 – a nearly 600 vote advantage over his next closest competitor…
To 3588 votes – a nearly 100 vote deficit against Saba in 2018…
Even with the advantage of being an incumbent, that statement on Social Media which Clark himself conceded to the paper in his apology as being “very racist” cost him nearly 1200 votes.
That’s not the kind of thing that a candidate can easily walk back from. But Michael Clark is apparently going to try.
In his campaign, Clark is going to have to convince voters that words he admitted were “racist” on social media and apologized for during his 2018 election – the same words which resulted in him being tossed from office were a horrible aberration, and something he’s better than. Because a loss of 1200 voters is a pretty deep hole to climb out of.
We’ll see if he’s able to convince voters that he’s a better man than his statements. And whether he can convince them he deserves a second chance.