While a state board has approved the circulation of a recall petition directed against embattled Gov. Rick Snyder (R), it will not be over the widely publicized water crisis in the city of Flint. Michigan’s Board of State Canvassers, which is part of the secretary of state's office, rejected nine other recall petitions. Six of these were based on the governor’s handling of toxic lead found in corroded pipes that leached into Flint’s drinking water. The petitioned approved by the board seeks to remove Snyder over his 2015 decision to take over control of the state office to reform schools in the state, which his critics say overrides local controls.
The decision by the board gives organizers 60 days to collect enough signatures to put the issue on the ballot this year. Voters would have a chance to vote to eject or keep Snyder.
For his part, Snyder shows no sign of resigning. The voter business executive said this week, "I want to solve this problem," Snyder said and claimed that things "are clearly going in the right direction" in Flint.
The recall effort is fast developing in the Mitten State, but it is already causing divisions among Democrats. Last week, the leader of the Democratic Party in Michigan reiterated calls by Flint citizens for Snyder’s resignation, deeming the Republican "incompetent" and "morally bankrupt." State House Democratic Leader Tim Greimel has called on the governor to resign conditionally — if he personally knew about the crisis and its connection to deaths caused by Legionnaire's Disease before he said he did.
While criticism of Snyder among progressives and Democrats has been universal, there are some who are holding back from a recall effort. If Snyder should resign, it would be Lt. Gov. Brian Calley (R) who would take over. And Calley is currently the GOP’s top choice to succeed Snyder any way.
Observers of Michigan politics suggest that Democrats would achieve little advantage in Snyder’s departure at this time and point out that Snyder’s team would probably stay in place.
Since an incumbent enjoys a natural advantage over challengers, GOP analysts see a partisan advantage.
However, things may be getting out of hand for the Democrats. The recall petition that was approved by the bipartisan State Board of Canvassers was drawn up over disagreements about the office Snyder created to monitor tottering public schools. When the office was created, the teacher’s union objected and the state Board of Education called it “unconstitutional.”
Getting enough signatures will be difficult, even for the Democrats. They must garner nearly 800,000 valid signatures within 60 days. If the petition is successful, voters would go to the polls in August this year to vote on Snyder’s future.
A survey conducted by Mitchell Research and Communications, suggests that the decision would break down, unsurprisingly, along partisan and racial lines. Currently, two-thirds of Republicans and one-half of whites voters approve of the job Snyder is doing, In the case of Democrats and black voters, only 18 percent in either case say the same. In a poll released in January by the EPIC-MRA company, 69 percent of Michigan voters do not approve of Snyder’s handling of the Flint water crisis. Only 29 percent think he should resign.