Monday, June 20, 2011

Meekhof Recall Misguided

A Spring Lake man named Jason Collins is attempting to recall State Senator Arlan Meekhof for supporting Governor Rick Snyder's budget proposal. He is also trying to recall Snyder himself. Meekhof won in November 2010 by around 55%, Snyder won by around 18%.

WMP believes the recall is severely misguided.

In early 2010, it appeared that then State Rep. Arlan Meekhof would be heading to the State Senate without any major competition. The top tier of rumored candidates, ex State Rep. Barb VanderVeen, and Ottawa County Clerk Dan Kreuger, hadn't jumped in and it did not appear as if they were going to.

Then in March, enter Brett VanderKamp, co-founder of the New Holland Brewing Company in Holland. Armed with Kreuger as campaign treasurer, VanderKamp threw his hat in the race and gave voters a real alternative to Meekhof.

VanderKamp ran an impressive campaign that might well have beat Meekhof had it gotten more aggressive earlier in the campaign season. Meekhof ended up with 25,901 votes to VanderKamp's 20,506. A third opponent, Tim O'Donnell, received just over 4,000 votes.

Meekhof's Democratic opponent John Chester was M.I.A. throughout the entire campaign. Never returned media inquiries. Never participated in a debate or forum. Had no social media operations. Nothing. The only campaign Mr. Chester had was his name on the ballot line. For an Ottawa County Democratic Party working very hard to compete where possible after impressive showings in 2008, Chester was a disaster of a candidate.

These were the times to take on Arlan Meekhof-August and November 2010. Even if Mr. VanderKamp had won, he would have likely voted for the Snyder budget, and even if Chester had tried to run a campaign, he would not have been able to beat Meekhof or VanderKamp.

Elections matter-they have real consequences. Just because you're mad you lost an election shouldn't give you license to recall the person who just destroyed you at the polls. Michigan's lax recall rules however make this a frequent occurrence.

Recalls for purely political purposes (such as these of Snyder and Meekhof) create a circus like atmosphere that distracts from governing and demean the democratic process. They do help the recall organizers get some ink and TV time though.

Mr. Collins would do well to withdraw his recall petition at tomorrow's clarity hearing and focus his efforts on 2012 local and State House elections. Even if Collins collected the 24,000 signatures, Ottawa County won't vote to recall Meekhof. Even if they did-his replacement would still fundamentally share Meekhof's views and would also probably vote for the Snyder budget. Would Collins try to recall Meekhof's replacement too?


GH Tribune on Meekhof Recall

Sentinel: VanderKamp Calls for Meekhof to Withdraw

MLive: West Michigan Republicans Breeze to Victory

State Senator Arlan Meekhof (R) Olive Township, Ottawa County

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