After Patsy Terrell’s own character and talents and work as a candidate, campaign community liaison Jim Clark deserves as much credit as anyone for that successful 2016 grassroots campaign for the Statehouse, in the view of Steve Snook.
“I give Jim Clark maximum props for the work he did to get Patsy elected,” said Snook, a leader in the MOD Squad.
Clark, who was a smoker, died Friday, Nov. 17, in Hutchinson. He was 66 years old. No services are planned now, according to Elliott Mortuary and Crematory.
Clark grew up in Hutchinson, but was a longtime resident of the Denver area until he retired as a union steward. He moved to Hutchinson and met Terrell at a political function. The two hit it and he brought his organizational skills to the campaign. He also knocked on a couple thousand doors in the 102nd House District, Snook said.
“Patsy told me, 'Steve, I think an angel just appeared in our campaign and his name is Jim Clark,'” Snook remembered.
Political novice Terrell, a Democrat, defeated veteran legislator Republican Jan Pauls a year ago this month. Terrell, 55, had a heart condition, and died June 7 in Topeka shortly before the session ended. Pauls, 64, had been in ill health and died July 5.
Clark had not seen himself as a political candidate but as a campaign worker, Snook said. After Terrell’s death, the Reno County Democratic Party’s precinct committee members faced the task of selecting a replacement. "'’You know what, I’m thinking I might want to run for that seat,”’ Clark told Snook.
Snook was proud when the soft-spoken Clark addressed Democrats at the special election in June. Jason Probst, then an editor at The News, won the seat in the balloting. Clark came in second in the three-candidate race.
Clark declared his full support for Probst and said he would campaign for Probst in the 2018 election.
Rep. Probst and Clark had a standing meeting at 9 a.m. Mondays at Scuttlebutts, where they would talk about “what we wanted to accomplish that week,” Probst said. The following week, they would talk about whether they had carried out their respective plans.
“He was a big union guy,” Probst said, and believed people in union jobs tended to be paid more. Clark thought people here needed better jobs that paid higher wages, according to Probst.
“He was a passionate, passionate guy,” Probst said.
In recent months, Clark closed on the purchase of a fixer-upper house in west Hutchinson, and his parents camed down from Michigan.
“I think we’re all still rather shocked,” Snook said by Clark’s death.