Fourth District Supervisor Ralph B. Clark says he doesn't ordinarily give endorsements in partisan races, but he made an exception Friday when he backed "a tough law-and-order man," congressional candidate David O. Carter.
Carter, a Superior Court judge on leave of absence to campaign for the 38th Congressional District seat, called Clark's endorsement "very significant. He's the senior member of the Board of Supervisors, and he's retiring after many years of public service, and a good portion of his district lies within the 38th (Congressional District)."
Clark, an Anaheim Democrat, said his endorsement did not imply any negative feelings toward Carter's June 3 primary opponent, Democratic Assemblyman Richard Robinson (D-Garden Grove).
"I've known Dick for a long time, and Dick has never asked me for support. Dick is a very good legislator. I have no problems with Dick at all," Clark said.
"The thing is, Judge Carter has asked for my support. He's a tough law-and-order judge, totally dedicated to good government. There's no doubt in my mind that's how he would perform if he were elected," Clark added.
Another Carter backer, Christopher Townsend, chairman of a local activist group called Democratic Associates, described Clark as "the chief ranking local Democratic elected official in the county."
Townsend, noting that nine of the 38th Congressional District's Democratic city council members had endorsed Carter last week, said, "Robinson can talk about all the assemblymen and congressmen from Northern California (who have endorsed him), but when the local officials are endorsing, it's Carter, not Robinson."
Carter late Friday said he could not remember having asked Clark to endorse him. However, the supervisor told another story--that Carter had "actively pursued" his endorsement for perhaps as long as a year.
Clark said he had tried to avoid endorsing at first because, although he sometimes makes endorsements in local, nonpartisan races, "I'm not in that particular field (of making endorsements). I try to do my own business." Endorsing a candidate in a congressional race "is a rarity" for him, Clark said.
But Clark said he had admired Carter for "a long time," since Carter began serving on the Superior Court bench in 1982 and quickly proved himself as "a very tough law-and-order judge."
What finally persuaded him to endorse, Clark said, was "I love the way he goes after me. He just kept asking me a few times for my endorsement, and I don't know how to say 'no.' "