GOP power play in Michigan must go through pragmatic Snyder


LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan Republicans determined to dilute the authority of newly elected Democrats could see the power play thwarted by a moderate GOP governor, who is not certain to go along with the Legislature like Wisconsin’s more partisan Gov. Scott Walker.

Term-limited Rick Snyder is not tipping his hand on whether he will sign the legislation if it is sent to him in the final days of a frantic lame-duck session. In contrast, Walker let it be known early in the Wisconsin process that he was likely to be on board with Republican lawmakers there.

Snyder, like Walker, has weakened unions in the industrial Midwest with right-to-work laws, cut taxes and enacted other conservative policies. But he also has a more centrist streak — expanding Medicaid eligibility under the federal health care law and vetoing some GOP-sponsored gun and abortion bills.

“Scott Walker is more conservative, more of an insurgent Republican reformer type than Rick Snyder, and he’s got more of an edge just in his personality and his approach to things in general. Rick Snyder has tried to characterize himself as being this kind of above-it-all, almost nonpartisan governor who doesn’t make deals and makes every decision based on logic and common sense and what works,” said Bill Ballenger, a political analyst and former Michigan Republican lawmaker.

Snyder infuriated Democrats by signing bills Friday to significantly scale back minimum wage and paid sick leave laws . They began as citizen-initiated ballot initiatives but were adopted by the GOP-led Legislature in a maneuver to allow them to be weakened after the election. Snyder’s decision to sign them was not surprising because he has long been in sync with their main backers in the business community.

GOP Senator Gets Big Win After Months-Long Stand-Off with Schumer

Now Republicans are considering whether to give final approval to a bill that would strip campaign-finance oversight from Democratic Secretary of State-elect Jocelyn Benson. Another bill would let the full Legislature or individual chambers automatically intervene in lawsuits, a power that until now has been reserved for the state attorney general. The move could affect Democratic Attorney General-elect Dana Nessel, who has said she probably will not defend a law allowing faith-based groups to refuse to serve same-sex couples who want to adopt children.

An additional measure would make it harder to launch ballot drives , following voter approval of three Democratic-backed proposals last month. A measure very close to Snyder’s desk would hamper the ability of Democratic Gov.-elect Gretchen Whitmer to set environmental and other regulations that are stricter than federal rules.

“If I believe it’s in the best public policy interest of our state, I will sign it. If it’s not, I won’t sign it,” Snyder said last week.

Democrats in Michigan are warning Snyder that signing the bills could tar his legacy, a repeat of pleas that did not sway Walker. The Wisconsin governor said his legacy will be the record he left behind that includes all but eliminating collective bargaining for public workers and getting rid of the state property tax.

While Snyder is more pragmatic, he has not always gotten behind GOP lawmakers’ agenda in his eight-year tenure. He said he does not think about his legacy.

There is little doubt that the defining moments of Snyder’s tenure will include the crisis over lead-tainted drinking water in Flint, which was a disaster for his administration, and the economic turnaround of Detroit after it emerged from bankruptcy, for which Snyder has received credit.

Republicans contend that the proposals to limit the powers of Democrats and voters have been overblown, while Democrats say they are undemocratic and flout the will of voters who elected them in November.

“He talks a good game and then he signs everything that goes in front of him, for the most part,” said Senate Democratic Leader Jim Ananich of Flint, who said he is not “overly hopeful” that Snyder will veto the measures. “If he signs all these right-wing bills, then that’s who you are. That’s what your legacy is. It’s not what you say it’s going to be. It’s what you do.”

Whitmer, who is meeting regularly with Snyder during the transition, told Michigan-based radio host Michael Patrick Shield on Friday that she is “hopeful” that Snyder will “go out and show that he’s a statesperson” by protecting the executive branch.

Fox's Brian Kilmeade Calls KJP's Border Comments 'The Most Worthless Series of Sentences I Could Imagine'

The bills have passed one chamber or the other, but it is uncertain if they will win final legislative approval this week or if changes will be made.

Tom Shields, a veteran Republican strategist, said Snyder historically has vetoed some bills at year’s end.

“I think this year will be no different. He’s going to find some things that he just can’t live with,” he said, before adding: “He’s been pretty close to the vest.”


Follow David Eggert on Twitter at . His work can be found at

The Western Journal has not reviewed this Associated Press story prior to publication. Therefore, it may contain editorial bias or may in some other way not meet our normal editorial standards. It is provided to our readers as a service from The Western Journal.

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

The Associated Press is an independent, not-for-profit news cooperative headquartered in New York City. Their teams in over 100 countries tell the world’s stories, from breaking news to investigative reporting. They provide content and services to help engage audiences worldwide, working with companies of all types, from broadcasters to brands. Photo credit: @AP on Twitter
The Associated Press was the first private sector organization in the U.S. to operate on a national scale. Over the past 170 years, they have been first to inform the world of many of history's most important moments, from the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the bombing of Pearl Harbor to the fall of the Shah of Iran and the death of Pope John Paul.

Today, they operate in 263 locations in more than 100 countries relaying breaking news, covering war and conflict and producing enterprise reports that tell the world's stories.
New York City