Mayor Janice Daniels of Troy, Mich., was swept into office on a wave of Tea Party support in November 2011 and now her opponents, many of them opposed to the Tea Party itself, are trying to sweep her out with a November 6 recall election.
“This recall is about politics,” Mayor Daniels told TheBlaze in a phone interview on Sunday, “pure politics. My opposition never thought I would win but I did.”
Criticism of Mayor Daniels began shortly after she posted a controversial statement on gay marriage to her Facebook page.
“I think I am going to throw away my I Love New York carrying bag now that queers can get married there,” she wrote on her Facebook wall shortly after her election.
Needless to say, Daniels' gay marriage remarks didn't go over very well and she quickly became the subject of intense criticism from various gay rights groups.
“I may have said something like that,” Daniels said in December. “I probably shouldn’t have used that kind of language, but I do believe marriage should be between one man and one woman.”
Criticism for Daniels only intensified after she chose to turn down a multimillion-dollar federal grant.
“They have set out to personally destroy me,” Daniels told TheBlaze. “They can’t fight a fair fight. Come at me about issues. I will debate issues all day long.”
“They engage in character assassination,” she continued. “They’re well-connected and they hate the thought of a limited government, low-tax mayor.”
You may recall earlier when TheBlaze reported that Mayor Daniels had rejected an $8.5 million federal grant for a transportation center that would be part of the Detroit to Chicago Amtrak network. Daniels rejected the handout because, she said, it would put a long-term financial burden on the city.
“There’s nothing free about government money,” Mayor Janice Daniels said in an interview. “It’s never free, and it’s crippling our way of life.”
“The federal government’s largess is no reason to build the transit center when the national debt stands at $15 trillion,” she added. “I want to leave a legacy for our children of managing our responsibilities -- not crushing them with debt money.”
Not long after turning away the “free” government money, recall efforts against Daniels began in earnest.
"She proved to me and to everybody else that her ideology was more important than the citizens of Troy when she voted against a resolution to protect the citizens of Troy from overrun costs of the transit center," Troy Councilman Dane Slater said during a recent council meeting.
“In essence, she voted against protecting the citizens of Troy ... just to say that she voted against everything about the transit center. To me, that was the final proof that she has more concerns about her ideology than protecting the residents of Troy,” he added.
But Daniels isn’t entirely alone.
Troy Councilman Dave Henderson at a recent meeting spoke in support of Mayor Daniels.
"The people voted her in a year ago, and it’s not my responsibility to carry a banner that’s going to undo what the people want," he said. "The people wanted someone who was going to come in and watch the budget, watch the transit center, and that’s what she ran on and what she was elected to do."
Henderson added that being in politics isn’t exactly easy, especially when you’re constantly under attack.
“If you get bombarded with the press the way she’s been bombarded with the press, it’s awful tough to handle that," Henderson said. "I’m willing to give her the benefit of the doubt and give her the learning curve too.”
He added: "Whatever the people want, the people get. That’s what democracy is about."
Mayor Daniels stands defiant.
“The silent majority is just sick of these negative political attacks against my personal character,” Daniels said told TheBlaze. “My opposition is deep into the politics of personal destruction.”
“The interesting thing about this,” the mayor said referring to the recall election, “is that I did what I said I would do when I campaigned for mayor.”
“Wouldn’t it be refreshing if people voted the way they campaigned?” she asked.
Indeed, as a candidate for office, Daniels made no bones about being a fiscal Tea Party conservative. So it shouldn’t have come as too much of a surprise that she would turn down the questionable federal grant.
Many of her supporters see the recall election as little more than a shameless attempt to discredit the Tea Party.
"If we lose Janice, there's going to be national headlines all over the country -- Tea Party goes down," one supporter said, according to the Detroit Free Press.
“Troy needs to keep its government stable, it needs to hold its pro-business majority council,” Mayor Daniels told TheBlaze. “Vote ‘no’ on Troy recall. Maintain and continue the growth of Troy that we are seeing.”
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