James M. Clarke

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James M. Clarke
James M Clarke.png
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from North Carolina's 11th district
In office
1987–1991
Preceded by Bill Hendon
Succeeded by Charles Taylor
In office
1983–1985
Preceded by Bill Hendon
Succeeded by Bill Hendon
Personal details
Born (1917-06-12)June 12, 1917
Manchester, Vermont
Died April 13, 1999(1999-04-13) (aged 81)
Fairview, North Carolina
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Elspie Clarke

James "Jamie" McClure Clarke (June 12, 1917 – April 13, 1999) was a North Carolina politician and farmer. He is a former Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives.

Born in Manchester, Vermont, Clarke grew up in Asheville, North Carolina. Clarke graduated from Princeton University in 1939 and served as a Lieutenant in the United States Navy during World War II in the Pacific from 1942 to 1945. After his service, Clarke worked as a dairy farmer and orchardist in western North Carolina. He became president of the Farmers Federation Cooperative in 1956.

In 1976, Clarke was elected to the North Carolina House of Representatives as a Democrat. In 1980 he was elected to the North Carolina Senate. In the 1982 election Clarke was elected to the 98th United States Congress representing North Carolina's 11th congressional district. He was reelected to the 100th and 101st Congresses. In Congress, he was known as an advocate for the environment.

In the 1980s Clarke's congressional campaigns became nationally famous due to his long-running rivalry with Republican Bill Hendon. In 1982 Clarke defeated then-Congressman Hendon by less than 1,500 votes. In 1984 Hendon gained revenge by defeating Clarke's bid for a second term by just two percentage points. In 1986, Clarke defeated Hendon's bid for re-election by only one percentage point. Although Hendon then retired from politics, Clarke's seat remained competitive. In 1988 Republican Charles H. Taylor came within one percentage point of defeating Clarke; in 1990 Taylor did unseat Clarke in another close election. Given his age (he was 73 at the time of his loss to Taylor), Clarke decided to retire from politics.

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