Bill Schuette

photo: WWJ/Mike Campbell

Shocking Split: Republican Group Backs Dem Whitmer Over GOP Schuette

Better a Dem than Schuette? Yes, they say.

September 20, 2018 - 8:23 am

(WWJ) Governor Rick Snyder is apparently not the only Republican who fails to support GOP candidate Bill Schuette as his successor. 

A group calling itself Republicans and Independents for Gretchen Whitmer will announce their support of the Democratic candidate today, says WWJ Lansing Bureau Chief Tim Skubick.

Better a Dem than Schuette? Yes, they say.

"They're going to say today 'It's anybody but Schuette,'" Skubick reported first on WWJ Newsradio 950. "They're upset with his policies. They're upset with the way he does politics and the question is 'What impact, if any, does this have on the race?'" 

To figure that out, look at committee members. The group includes former officials with the Snyder Administration, as well as Bill Schuette's office and the son of former Governor Bill Milliken, and Mel Larsen, former chair of the Michigan Republican Party. Larsen was integral to the passage of the Elliot Larsen civil rights law, which bans discrimination based on religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex, height, weight, familial status, or marital status in employment, housing, education, and access to public accommodations.

The anti-Schuette group of heavy hitters is led by former Snyder Administration official Jim Havemen and Lansing attorney Richard Mclellan, who served on the transition team with Schuette was elected attorney general.

There are no Democrats on the team, which appears to be mobilized by causes not exactly close to a liberal's heart.

One member of the group explained that they don't like it that Schuette, as attorney general, charged 15 former and current Flint and state officials with criminal wrongdoing in the Flint lead-contaminated water crisis. Some believe the criminal charges to be politically motivated. There's also a question about whether Schuette supports the kind of prison "reform" efforts that other Republicans do. What some call reform, others calls privatization and outsourcing, and believe that it leads to safety failures and the loss of good-wage jobs. 

"A lot of the Republicans wanted two things," explained Mclellan. "They wanted him to get off the Flint situation and they wanted him to get involved in the prison reform that a lot of the corporate America in Michigan feel very strongly about. He has stopped every prison reform idea that has come out of the House."