After over a dozen attempts by several people to have petition language approved for the recall of Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, the State Board of Canvassers finally approved one this week. This one is based on Snyder’s creation of the the State School Reform/Redesign Office which he later moved from the Department of Education to the Department of Treasury, a move that shocked most observers.
However, despite the initial elation over the success of this petition, that mood turned sour when it was discovered that the petition was submitted by a rabid tea partier, Ben Lazarus, who thinks Gov. Snyder simply isn’t conservative enough. Chad Selweski has the story at his new blog Politically Speaking:
Those who have relentlessly criticized Gov. Rick Snyder’s handling of the Flint water crisis wildly applauded the approval on Monday of a recall petition against the governor, but now it’s slowly sinking in that this recall drive is not at all what was expected. […]
So, who is Ben Lazarus? He is a 25-year-old member of the Warren Consolidated school board, a persistent critic of Snyder, the Warren Con school administration, and particularly Superintendent Bob Livernois.
Lazarus, elected as a maverick candidate in 2012, was criticized by some as bigot when he staked his claim as an outspoken opponent of schools-of-choice policies that allowed “outsiders” from Detroit to attend the Warren Consolidated Schools.
Be sure to click through and read the entire piece.
The MEA has no plans to support the petition drive, giving two thoughtful reasons:
- In the unlikely event Snyder is actually recalled or resigns – the result would most likely be devastating for MEA. First, Lt. Gov. Calley could become the new governor and he’s no better than Snyder is. Second, Calley or any other GOP candidate, running for a full term as governor, would be compelled to prove his far right, tea party bona fides and the best way for him to do that would be to move as much anti-MEA, anti-school employee legislation as possible, as soon as possible. We gain absolutely nothing by the recall of Snyder and quite possibly would be in worse shape very quickly.
- The sponsor of this petition is Ben Lazarus. He’s a 24 year old, recently elected member of the Warren Consolidated Schools Board. He was not endorsed by MEA. Mr. Lazarus, a Republican, is a controversial figure and constant social media critic of Snyder even though he appeared in one of the last Snyder TV spots in the last election. He was also the campaign manager of Republican Alan Arcand running in the first Congressional district, running to the right of Benishek and received the support of disgraced RNC member Dave Agema.
Mr. Lazarus essentially ran for the Warren school board from Florida and won the election only after running race baiting robo-calls. Unfortunately, he did not mention his arrests for drugs and resisting arrest while living in Florida just two years ago.
Many are afraid that Lazarus won’t pursue the petition seriously and that’s why his petition was supported even by the Republican members of the Board of Canvassers. Just getting the recall on the ballot will be a serious challenge given changes to the recall rules enacted by Republicans a few years ago. To be successful, 789,133 valid signatures must be collected within a 60-day period meaning that they’ll likely need to collect at least 1 million to ensure they have enough that are valid.
We’ll keep you updated on this story as it develops.