In what can only be called a nail-biter last night (see my liveblog HERE to see what I mean), the effort to recall anti-teacher, anti-union Republican Rep. Paul Scott from Grand Blanc was successful last night. After all of the votes were counted, Scott was recalled by a margin of only 197 votes – 50.4% to 49.6%. This is, however, quite a different result than the final poll before the election that had Scott winning by 8 percentage points.
Over the course of this campaign, the recall organizers displayed a nearly-Herculean level of determination. Recall language approval happened very late in the game. However, they still managed to collect 12,350 signatures in just two weeks putting Scott’s recall on the 2011 ballot, a feat none of the other several dozen recall efforts could do.
Scott then proceeded to spend enormous amounts of money on the race, going three times to the state Supreme Court in audacious attempts to stop his constituents from exercising their constitutionally-given right to recall the legislator. The level of chutzpah displayed by Michigan Republicans has been rather stunning and it was clear that Scott thought the Republican-led Supreme Court would have his back. They did not. Our Republican Attorney General and Governor even weighed in with the Supremes on Scott’s behalf but they, too, were rebuffed. I documented much of that tortured path HERE.
Speaking of Governor Rick Snyder, he even got involved in Scott’s effort to fight off the recall, going door-to-door in his district to speak to voters.
Scott had literally hundreds of thousands of dollars pouring in from all over the country to help him with his battle including from multiple members of the DeVos family, the president of the Orlando Magic and his wife, and, most notably and extensively, from Michelle Rhee’s anti-teacher group StudentsFirst who appear to put over $200,000 up for this effort (on top of over $1 million they’ve spent in Michigan this year in 2011 to fight teachers’ unions.)
Despite the setbacks and the emotional roller coaster the Scott recall organizers went through, they never quit. Outspent at least 2-to-1 (and probably far more) they still managed to get their message out. Pushing past the countless pro-Scott yard signs and the endless and obnoxious pro-Scott robocalls, they got their message to the voters, got out the vote and prevailed against all odds.
I doff my chapeau to these incredible community organizers. They, along with voters in Ohio and Mississippi and Maine and Arizona and in countless other places showed that Americans are waking up to Republican overreach and beginning to fight back. Despite no help from the Michigan Democratic Party who missed a prime opportunity to help generate enthusiasm and tap into this groundswell of activism, they prevailed. They found help with the Michigan Education Association who donated money and other resources to help with their effort and utilized social media and other avenues to win against the odds.
Yesterday morning, Michigan Radio had a piece on their website titled “Scott recall seen as referendum on Snyder, GOP”. By winning this battle, the Scott recall organizers have done Democrats in Michigan a very big favor and have shown us that political involvement CAN make a difference.
Political analyst and strategist Bill Ballenger suggests that this might be bad for Michigan Democrats.
“Really watching it very closely,” said Bill Ballenger, editor of the Lansing-based Inside Michigan Politics newsletter. “I don’t think there’s any question about it.”
Ballenger said the outcome of Tuesday’s recall is going to have statewide ramifications regardless of how the election turns out.
If Scott is ousted, it could spell disaster for Democrats and the Michigan Education Association in the form of anti-union legislation or recall efforts against Democrats, Ballenger added.
“I think the House and Senate Republicans are pretty defiant and they’re angry,” Ballenger said. “I think they mean to get even.”
He repeated this last night.
“I thought all along this was a war they could not win,” Ballenger said following Scott’s concession late Tuesday. “I think ultimately they’re going to pay a price for this. It’s conceivable this could have been the worse result for the MEA and the recallers than if Scott beat the recall.”
Fear of retribution from the GOP should never and was never a consideration in this effort. If Republicans retaliate after this, they will only secure their defeat in 2012. If they mirror the national Republican agenda of doing harm to society in order to win elections, they will pay a very steep price at the polls next year.
My hat is off to the Paul Scott recall activists. What you have done is so full of awesome that I wish we could bottle it up and send all around the state. While Wisconsin and Ohio activists have been energized and active, Michigan activism has been in the doldrums. You’ve shown us all that there is hope and that we can be successful. Well done.
P.S. Stop by the Recall Paul Scott Facebook page and lay a little love on these folks. They deserve it.