Recall Drives Could Help Governor Whitmer
The Michigan Board of State Canvassers approved two recall petitions Wednesday seeking to drive Democrat governor Gretchen Whitmer out of office over her Coronavirus emergency orders. But recall efforts against Whitmer could end up helping her. Several individuals have mounted recall efforts that currently require gathering more than a million signatures of registered Michigan voters, in just 60 days-- a nearly impossible feat. And during the 60 days that organizers are gathering those signatures, Whitmer will be exempt from normal limits on campaign donations.
A recall effort is different than what the group “Unlock Michigan” is doing. That group is trying to overturn a 1945 Emergency Powers law, and they have 180 days to gather just 330,000 signatures. Recalling Governor Whitmer would require three times the signatures in one-third of the time, with no margin for error, and even then, the voters of Michigan would have the final say on whether Whitmer would lose her job or not.
Meanwhile, Whitmer fundraisers can laugh all the way to the bank. An elected state officer who is the target of a state recall is NOT subject to traditional contribution limits. Sources say Whitmer’s campaign is already fundraising the public recall threat.
“Any digital fundraising team worth their salt will 100 percent attempt to take advantage of a recall effort, even if the recall effort has absolutely no chance in hell of making progress,” said John Sellek, a Republican strategist who founded the Harbor Strategic consulting firm after working for Whitmer’s 2018 general election opponent, Bill Schuette.
Election attorney Robert LaBrant says the group pursuing the recall has no limits, so the public official being targeted in the recall has the usual contribution limits waived. LaBrant says that if a recall effort falls short or is abandoned, Whitmer’s campaign would be required to return amounts over the standard limits but would be able to keep the rest for her 2022 re-election run. LaBrant notes that Wisconsin voters were able to get enough signatures in their recall effort against Governor Scott Walker. But he says none of the recalls in Michigan so far seem to have the support to get the million signatures in the short 60 days.