91.7 Ann Arbor/Detroit 104.1 Grand Rapids 91.3 Port Huron 89.7 Lansing 91.1 Flint
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Lt. Gov. Calley and Attorney General Schuette battle - well before Election 2018

The fiercest rivalry in Michigan politics right now is between two candidates for governor who still have not actually announced they’re running.

We are seeing this rivalry play out between Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette and Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley in the nascent petition drive to make the state legislature part-time.

Late last month, Calley launched the ballot drive to put the part-time legislature question to voters in November 2018. That’s the same election that Calley and Schuette are both known to be interested in running for Governor.

Both Republicans have yet to jump in. Officially, anyway. But, make no mistake, the political rumble has begun.

The dust up began between the two non-campaign campaigns this past week over the part-time legislature ballot question.

The part-time legislature campaign wanted to have the bipartisan Board of State Canvassers look over and OK their petition’s format (think font size, capitalized words) so a meeting was scheduled.

But, then, suddenly, it was canceled.

Calley’s team quickly said that it was because of interference from the Attorney General’s office - run by Bill Schuette. They said that the AG’s office had raised legal objections and let the Secretary of State’s office know about them.

To which, Schuette told It’s Just Politics: “Absolutely not true, and I think that’s become evident as the hours and minutes and days go by… The fact is I’ve always been for a part-time Legislature and at no time, at no time, did the Department of Attorney General impede the approval process or slow it down or anything because that’s just not what we do.”

When we got down to the bottom of it, it sounds like what happened was before the meeting, the Director of the Michigan Bureau of Elections was questioning some technical aspects of the petition and let the Attorney General’s office know.

Not exactly the AG calling up the board and telling them to ‘cancel the meeting’ but you can see where if the AG’s office somehow was part of a conversation (even if it was not initiated by them) that the Calley team would make hay of it. And, they did.

But, really, at the political heart of this is that there’s already a heightened he-said/he-said before either candidate has even officially jumped into the race.

And, this is not a one-off.

Let’s not forgot Schuette is investigating - literally investigating - the very administration that Calley is a part. Schuette and a team of high-priced attorneys have been investigating the Flint water crisis - and may be targeting Snyder administration officials for criminal charges.

An investigation that’s supposed to be above politics, but the politics of the investigation can’t be ignored.

Zoe Clark is Michigan Public's Political Director. In this role, Clark guides coverage of the state Capitol, elections, and policy debates.
Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
Related Content