On December 12, 2011, Jacob Turk entered Union Station in Kansas City, Missouri, stood before a microphone and asked those who had gathered before him, “Has our economic outlook improved over the past year? Have we revived the job market? Has our national debt declined? Unfortunately, the answer to all three questions is No.”
Turk then announced he would be challenging Rep. Emanuel Cleaver’s hold on Missouri’s Fifth District for a fourth time.
You read that right. Jacob Turk has run for Congress three times before and lost, each time against Emanuel Cleaver.
That hasn’t dissuaded Turk in the slightest. In fact, he’s more optimistic than ever.
“The reality of the situation is, each time we have gained a bigger percentage of the vote and each time we’ve raised more money,” Turk said on my podcast All American Radio.
In 2006, the first time he challenged Cleaver, he raised only $32,000. In 2008, he ran his campaign on $57,000. Then came 2010.
“People really started looking into me as a candidate and as a person and decided I was the kind of person they wanted in Congress. Towards the end of the election, we had been pushing a noodle for all this time, knowing we could beat Cleaver, knowing he was vulnerable, but people just, because the media kept telling them it wasn’t possible, they just couldn’t quite believe it. Well, they finally believed it with about four weeks to go in the election cycle.”
In one night, Turk brought in $64,000, more than he ran his entire campaign on two years before. In all, his campaign raised $261,000. Cleaver still won the election, but he had to spend $607,000 to do it.
Then, feeling threatened, Cleaver spent political capital to have Missouri’s Fifth District drawn so that Turk’s house was no longer in the district.
“That is the story that we have heard, and it’s been from multiple sources that that was his one request, that our house no longer be in the Fifth District. And if you look at the map, because people scratch their heads and go, ‘Why did they draw it that way?’ Well once they find out where we live it makes a lot more sense to them.”
One can only imagine that Cleaver was unaware the Constitution allows citizens to run for Congressional seats in different districts, as long as they move to the district before taking office. Perhaps Cleaver thought it would be enough to keep Turk out of the race.
Turk took a trip to Washington, DC in August of 2011 and spoke with “political experts,” “party people,” and “conservative organizations.” After telling them about the 2010 race and Cleaver’s move to map the district around his house, there was only one answer.
“Political professionals were like, ‘Wow. If he is that scared of you, you have to run again.’”
Cleaver has good reason to be scared. In 2008, Turk lost by 88,000 votes. In 2010, he was only 17,000 behind. Granted, 2008 was a big year for Democrats and 2010 an election dominated by the Tea Party. 2012 is up for grabs. If Republicans can motivate the base to turn out to vote against a second term for Obama, it could translate to big wins down ticket for people like Jacob Turk.
Turk also has the added benefit of early financial support this time around.
“Not only did people want us to run, they said they’d cut a check early for us. And they were true to their word. As of December 31, we had raised ten times more than we had two years ago at the same time.”
Specifically, he had raised $114,964, more than he ran his first two campaigns on, combined.
Things finally seem to be coming together for Turk, and 2012 could be the year he finally wins, removing a lying, race baiting, Communist sympathizer from office and replacing him with conservative Marine Corps veteran.
For the sake of Missouri’s Fifth, and the country, I hope it is.
Cross posted at Right Wing News.