Gov. Rick Snyder of Michigan hired a law firm using up to $800,000 in taxpayer money to help his administration navigate through a throng of civil and criminal investigations. Both candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination have called for him to resign. On Thursday he faces a grilling by a congressional committee in Washington. And as voters went to the polls on the state’s Primary Day last Tuesday, a group led by a Detroit pastor began an effort to recall him in a statewide referendum, a repeat of the movement that in 2012 targeted a fellow Republican, Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin. For a man who swept into office in 2010 by promoting his résumé as a no-nonsense accountant and businessman who was above politics, Governor Snyder now finds himself in the middle of the kind of bitter partisan warfare that he has long disdained. Many Michigan voters now blame him for how he handled two of the state’s biggest debacles, the tainted water crisis in Flint and the tattered Detroit public schools.
Though he is subject to term limits and cannot run for re-election in 2018, Mr. Snyder is now under threat of a recall, an effort that began in full force on Tuesday. At school and library polling stations in Detroit, volunteers handed out literature, recruited help and urged voters to support the petition drive when signature collection begins later this month.
“He’s shown us that he’s just a businessman, not a governor,” said Wanda Jan Hill, 65, a Democrat and retired city employee, as she distributed leaflets outside a community center on the east side of Detroit. “He knew what was happening in Flint, and he did nothing. Where is the compassion?”
Emails showed that a series of government errors surrounding Flint’s switch to a new water source were compounded by a lack of response over many months, despite growing evidence that the water was unsafe with high levels of lead.