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More Michigan lawmakers targeted for recall

  • Rep. Noah Arbit, a West Bloomfield Democrat, faces recall over supporting LGBTQ protections against hate crime
  • Donni Steele of Orion becomes second Republican to face recall challenge
  • Eight lawmakers — all in first term — are up against recall efforts; all are long-shots

LANSING — Six House Democrats and two Republicans are now facing recall threats for votes they cast earlier this year, as efforts to unseat incumbent lawmakers continued to grow this week.

House Reps. Noah Arbit, D-West Bloomfield, and Donni Steele, R-Orion, became the two latest targets of recall petitions earlier this week.

All eight lawmakers are serving their first term in the state Legislature. Although it is unclear if the recall petitions are connected, they were all filed by Republican activists or past candidates in those lawmakers’ districts, Bridge Michigan previously reported.

State Rep. Noah Arbit, D-West Bloomfield.

The lawmakers are targeted for their votes to support a series of issues, including the “red flag” gun law allowing a judge to temporarily take firearms away from dangerous people, protections for LGBTQ communities against hate crimes and the naming of Rep. Joe Tate, D-Detroit, as House Speaker.


In a Friday statement, Arbit — the main sponsor of the hate crime legislation — said the recall petition targeted him for supporting the measure. 

State Rep. Donna Steele, R-Orion

“I wrote it and I sponsored it - in one of the proudest, most meaningful moments of my life,” he said. “I will never apologize for fighting to protect ALL Michiganders from hate violence, and I will never be intimidated or cowed out of achieving my mission.”

By Friday, the first-term Democrat is already fundraising off of the recall efforts, which have yet to be certified by the Board of State Canvassers. The fundraising website called the recall efforts “baseless, extremist” and “likely backed by dark money conservative donors.”

“Defeating this extremist, anti-democratic recall effort is going to take everything we have,” the website said.

Steele faces recall threats because of her vote in March for the safe storage law, which would require gun owners to store weapons in secure locations away from children, according to the petition document obtained by Bridge.

She told Bridge on Friday she supports the law because most gun owners support the idea of safe storage. She noted she voted against other gun restrictions backed by Democrats.

“Safe storage for minors in the house when the parents aren’t there — that’s what that’s for,” she said.

Steele said with the recall threats, she has now faced blowback from both Republican and Democratic groups for her stance on gun measures — for opposite reasons. 

“I must be doing something right,” she said.

Steele deemed the recall efforts a “disappointing” waste of “taxpayer dollars.”

“It takes away from the job at hand, which is representing my district and taking care of constituents’ needs,” Steele said.

The language and content of the recall petitions must be approved by the Michigan Board of State Canvassers before circulation for signatures. The board is scheduled to meet Aug. 1 to consider at least six of the recall petitions announced Monday.

With board approval, recall organizers must — within 60 days — collect thousands of signatures equal to or more than 25 percent of total voters for governor in each district during the 2022 election.

While it is hard to recall a sitting lawmaker, any recall efforts that make it onto the ballot could threaten the slim two-seat Democratic majority in the state House, especially when several of the targeted lawmakers represent competitive areas. 

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