For the second time in two years a group of Michigan activists is launching a recall drive against Gov. Rick Snyder (R).
With a reworded recall petition focused on actions Snyder has taken rather than actions Snyder is projected to take, the group Michigan Rising believes they can double the amount of signatures they received last year and force a recall referendum in November. The group is focusing the bulk of its attention on Snyder's decision to sign "emergency manager" legislation allowing the state to take control of local governments and his budget plans.
"Things have gotten worse," Michigan Rising spokesman Bruce Fealk told The Huffington Post.
The language submitted to Washtenaw County election officials specifically cites Snyder's education, tax and local government policies. The petition claims that Snyder has hurt school children by taking $400 million out of the state school fund, which caused students to be placed in over crowded classrooms, and notes his cutting of the state's food stamp program. It also says that Snyder has ousted elected officials with the emergency manager law and raised taxes on the poor and middle class, while cutting taxes on the wealthy and corporations.
"He is robbing from the poor to pay the rich," Fealk said. "It is Robin Hood in reverse."
The group also describes Snyder in a press release as a "corporate monster" who has failed to create jobs.
Snyder's press office did not immediately return a request for comment.
During last year's recall effort, Snyder spokeswoman Sara Wurfel told Hartland Patch that the governor's fiscal policies were helping Michigan.
"Our comment on this would be regardless of recall efforts or not, the governor remains fully committed to making the tough decisions that ensure Michigan turns the corner and sees brighter, stronger days for all," Wurfel told Hartland Patch in an email. "He's hopeful that Michiganders will realize and witness that firsthand over time and that his approach of relentless positive action will make a difference."
County election officials will be holding a hearing on the petition on April 9 and Snyder will have 10 days to appeal the decision if the petition is approved. Michigan Rising has to gather 807,000 signatures from Michigan voters during a 90-day window within a 180-day period following the certification of their original request. Last year, the group obtained 500,000 signatures. Fealk said that the group is aiming to collect between 1.1 and 1.2 million signatures.
If the signature drive is successful, a recall referendum will occur in November. If Snyder is then recalled, Lt. Gov. Brian Calley (R) would become acting governor until a special election that would be held in February 2013 to fill the remainder of Snyder's term.
Fealk said that Michigan Rising is in the process of recruiting volunteers, noting that the group had 6,000 volunteers last year. He said the group is not coordinating with state Democrats on the recall. The group is planning a May 5 rally in front of the state capitol in Lansing to kick off the effort.
Snyder would be only the fourth governor to face a recall election if the petitions were approved. In addition to the recall pending against Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R), to be decided in June, California Gov. Gray Davis (D) was recalled in 2003 and North Dakota Gov. Lynn Frazier (R) was recalled in 1921. Former Arizona Gov. Evan Mecham (R) had a recall election certified against him in 1988, but Mecham was impeached before the recall could occur. There is also a movement pending in Arizona to force a recall election against Gov. Jan Brewer (R).
UPDATE: 9:55 p.m. -- A spokesman for Gov. Snyder, Ken Silfven, said that the governor is focused on state business and believes he can weather any recall attempt. He said Snyder stands by his record in Lansing. "People put their trust in the governor because he'd make the tough but necessary decisions to move Michigan forward," Silfven told HuffPost. "We'll stay focused on doing what's right for Michigan and it's families."
CORRECTION: This article has been corrected to reflect that were Gov. Rick Snyder to be recalled, Lt. Gov. Brian Calley would become Michigan's acting governor until a special election that would be held in February 2013 to fill the remainder of Snyder's term.