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Efforts at recall aim for local politicians

October 9, 2011
69th District State Representative Mark Meadows distributes campaign information Sunday in South Wonders Hall. Meadows went door to door in dorm rooms on Sunday night to inform students registered to vote on where they can vote and what they need to bring with them. Matt Radick/The State News
69th District State Representative Mark Meadows distributes campaign information Sunday in South Wonders Hall. Meadows went door to door in dorm rooms on Sunday night to inform students registered to vote on where they can vote and what they need to bring with them. Matt Radick/The State News —
Photo by Matt Radick | and Matt Radick The State News

Recent recall efforts targeting about a dozen state Democratic lawmakers have put two powerful East Lansing politicians in the crosshairs.

State Rep. Mark Meadows, D-East Lansing, and State Sen. Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer, D-East Lansing, are both targets of recall petitions that could make it to the ballot for the Republican presidential primary in February if the petitions’ language is approved and enough signatures are garnered.

The attempts on East Lansing politicians are part of one of the largest mass-recall efforts in the state’s history, said Bill Ballenger, editor of Inside Michigan Politics.

“We’ve never seen something like this on such a massive scale,” Ballenger said.

If the language of his recall petition is approved by the county next Monday, Meadows’ adversaries will begin collecting signatures in an attempt to get his name on the ballot for a recall on the Feb. 28 Republican presidential primary — an election few left-wing voters likely will show up for, as it is a closed primary and no Democratic candidates are on the ballot.

Although both Whitmer’s and Meadows’ districts are heavily Democratic, and a Democrat almost would certainly replace them if they were recalled and a special election was held, Meadows said the recalls are an opportunity for Republicans to take out seasoned party leaders.

“If nothing else, it’s a little coup for them,” Meadows said.

Meadows already has began fighting his attempted recall. Last week, he sent a message to his supporters asking donations to fund his fight for office.

The sweeping recall efforts are a response to Democrats blocking legislation Republicans feel is in the best interest of voters, said Stu Sandler, a consultant for the Michigan Republican Party.

“If Democrats and special interests continue to block, people are still going to make their concerns heard,” Sandler said. “They’re fed up with Democrats and special interests trying to block the economic progress that Republicans and Gov. Rick Snyder are doing to reinvent this state.”

Ballenger said the efforts likely are blow back at Democrats for starting recall campaigns against other Republicans. One of these, against State Rep. Paul Scott, R-Grand Blanc, is facing a court decision this week that could set a precedent for how easily recall initiatives can be achieved, Ballenger said.

Meadows said the efforts are an inappropriate use of the recall system and are happening because of the Republicans’ unilateral power in the state’s government.

“Those are the cards (that) were dealt, and you just have to deal with it,” Meadows said.

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