UPDATE: Gov. Snyder weighs in on Roy Schmidt scandal | News
UPDATE at 11:00 P.M. (WZZM)-- Governor Rick Snyder says he does not condone a conspiracy to rig the state house election in the 76th District.
But during a stop in Grand Rapids Thursday, the Governor said as the head of the state executive branch, it's not his place to condemn actions taken by Republican House Speaker Jase Bolger and Grand Rapids Representative Roy Schmidt.
"I'm the executive branch," he said. "I'm staying focused on more and better jobs and a future for our kids."
With Speaker Bolger helping, Schmidt switched to the republican party minutes before the May 15 filing deadline. At the same time, he hired a 22-year-old college student to lie about living in the district and file to run against him as a democrat. The plan, which would have likely guaranteed Schmidt's re-election, unraveled when the press and public found out.
Here are Governor Snyder's answers to questions on the conspiracy:
Q: "Do you condone this?"
A: "No, but I would say that's a legislative issue."
Q: "That's the part I don't get. How was it a legislative issue and not a moral issue?"
A: "It's in the legislative branch of government."
Q: "If you are overlooking this, what does it say about your standards for state government?"
A: "I wouldn't say I am overlooking it by any measure. I'm basically fulfilling my responsibilities as governor. I'm staying focused on my duties, which are to focus on more and better jobs and a better future for our kids. "
Q: "Some might say you are avoiding the issue."
A: "I've always stayed focus on the issues. To the degree there are recommendations from the judiciary branch looking at ways to not have that happen again, we are happy to look at them and work on them. I clearly support that because I think there are improvements to the system that can be made. "
Both democrats and republicans in the state house have introduced bills that would make it harder for any future lawmakers to conspire to rig an election in the same way.
Grand Rapids Representative Schmidt and House Speaker Bolger have apologized, but Schmidt says he will not resign, and Bolger says he will not step down.
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) -- Political and public pressure continue to mount for 76th District Representative Roy Schmidt, R- Grand Rapids, after his recent party-switching scandal.
In May, Schmidt switched parties from Democrat to Republican and allegedly recruited a phony candidate to run against him in the upcoming elections.
Last week, the Kent County Prosecutor said Schmidt offered money to Matt Mojzak, a 22-year-old nutrition store manager, to run as a a Democrat against him. Mojzak eventually dropped out of the race. The prosecutor says Schmidt and House Speaker Jase Bolger, R-Marshall, conspired to find someone to file as a Democrat in the 76th district race -- but not campaign for the office. Prosecutor William Forsyth called the scheme an effort to defraud the voters in the house district.
With "Schmidt's a Schmuck" signs popping up around Grand Rapids and Democrats calling for the resignation of both Rep. Schmidt and Speaker Bolger, many have been waiting for Gov. Rick Snyder to weigh in on the scandal.
Gov. Snyder was in Grand Rapids Thursday. You can see how he answered our questions about his views on the scandal in the video box on this web page.