Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. — Fox News talking head, Donald Trump devotee, conservative talk radio host, Republican Party convention speaker and Democratic officeholder — is adding another title to his growing resume.
Clarke announced Tuesday that he had signed a book deal with a Christian publisher from Tennessee to write a memoir for publication on March 7, 2017. The book will be titled “Rebel Sheriff: Beyond the Hashtags of Race, Crime and Politics.”
“The book follows Clarke’s childhood in housing projects as well as the racial politics he encountered in the police department before he was elected Milwaukee County sheriff in 2002,” Publishers Weekly said in a blurb. “In it, the author shares his perspective on how Americans can navigate issues of racial and religious division.”
The housing project reference has to do with Clarke’s family living in Berryland, a housing project on the city’s north side, until his parents bought their first house when he was 12.
Clarke declined on Tuesday to say how much he was being paid to write the book, saying only that he would receive “an undisclosed advance for publication.”
“Undisclosed means will not disclose,” the sheriff wrote by email.
But shouldn’t voters know in detail how the people they are electing — whether it’s the governor or sheriff — are profiting from their positions?
BuzzFeed reported in March 2014 that Gov. Scott Walker was paid an advance exceeding $340,000 to write “Unintimidated: A Governor’s Story and a Nation’s Challenge” — though that figure doesn’t seem to be reflected in his subsequent tax returns. The book, BuzzFeed said, sold a little more than 16,000 copies in its first four months after publication.
Clarke said he’s not enriching himself through his public office.
“You mean like how Mrs. Bill Clinton” — his preferred name for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton — “and the Clinton Foundation profited from her position as secretary of state with large cash donations?” Clarke wrote in his inimitable style. “Governor Walker and I are not selling access or influence like Crooked Hillary.”
Clarke’s book will be published by Worthy Publishing Group, a relatively new Christian firm created in 2011. The company publishes such authors as former NFL quarterback Michael Vick, GOP operative and evangelical power broker Ralph Reed and bestselling evangelical Christian writer Jerry Jenkins.
Nicole Pavlas, a publicity director for Worthy, said Clarke’s book agent — D.J. Snell of Legacy LLC in Florida — sent publishers a book proposal earlier this year and that Worthy’s executive editor bought it.
Pavlas said her firm has published works by political figures in the past — most recently “Roar: The New Conservative Woman Speaks Out” by Trump surrogate and right-wing journalist Scottie Nell Hughes. She came under fire this week for suggesting Trump “sacrificed” two marriages by spending time at work creating jobs.
Pavlas said it would be incorrect to see Clarke’s book as purely political.
“This book by Sheriff Clarke will touch on various political issues,” she said, “but will also tell his personal story and integrate faith/inspirational elements as well.”
Pavlas said she doesn’t know how many copies will be in the first print run for Clarke’s book.
“Too early for that,” she said.
The book deal comes as Clarke’s profile has blossomed nationally.
He received a rousing welcome when he spoke at the Republican National Convention last month. He is a regular on Fox News and other news outlets discussing a wide range of issues, from the Orlando nightclub mass shooting to California crime initiatives to Beyoncé’s performance at the Super Bowl.
Clarke has also been traveling the country, speaking to groups such as the National Rifle Association and accepting awards from the anti-government New York Oath Keepers and the Sheriff Buford Pusser Home & Museum. In between all of that, he sometimes serves as fill-in for local conservative talk show hosts.
But Clarke dismissed any suggestion that he has lost focus locally.
“I can do this at the same time,” Clarke said last month, referring to the job to which he was elected. “It’s doable.”
Part of the reason for that is that the Sheriff’s Office is not handling most of the serious crimes in Milwaukee. His agency reported overseeing only 20 violent crimes in 2014 — including no murders and only one rape — down from 184 in 2012.
That leaves Clarke with lots of free time for other activities, such as TV appearances, convention speeches and now book deals.