Now that she’s been elected to the new Livingston County Circuit Court position, the question is this: Will Judge L. Suzanne Geddis follow through on her campaign promise to resign as district judge, allowing Gov. Rick Snyder to appoint her replacement?
Her campaign consultant and spokesperson promised that if Geddis won, she would resign the following day. That would have been Wednesday. As of this writing on Friday, Geddis had not resigned.
So, the question is: Will she keep this campaign promise or not?
Geddis won what is probably the closest judicial election in Livingston County history – just 1,600 votes over Dennis Brewer – and it’s fair to say a lot of Republicans voted for her because she promised to resign and let Snyder appoint her replacement.
So, the question is: Did she just make that promise to get elected, or will she actually keep it?
In case you’re confused, here in a nutshell is the situation:
- Geddis is currently a Livingston County District Court judge, and in Tuesday’s election, she was elected to a new position on the Circuit Court.
- That means she has to leave her position on the District Court. She can do that one of two ways: Wait until she takes office in January; or resign now.
- As soon as Geddis leaves her District Court position, that will leave a vacancy that will be filled by the governor.
- As you recall, we elected a new governor on Tuesday; Democrat Gretchen Whitmer will be sworn in on Jan. 1. Until that point, our governor is still Republican Gov. Rick Snyder.
- If Geddis resigns now, that would give Republican Snyder the option of naming her replacement. If Geddis waits until January, our new judge will be appointed by Democrat Whitmer.
- To a lot of people in this heavily Republican county, that’s a big difference and a big deal. Especially because they all remember that disgraced District Judge Theresa Brennan was also appointed by a Democratic governor, Jennifer Granholm.
So, that’s where we are now. As of today, Friday, we’re waiting to see if Geddis will resign now and give Snyder the option of filling the seat, or whether she’ll wait until January and let Whitmer do it.
But here’s the most important part of all this: Geddis promised the voters that she’d resign if she won. So if she doesn’t do it, she’ll be guilty of the most blatant broken campaign promise in Livingston County history.
No matter what else she does in her career on the bench, that will be her legacy. So she really doesn’t have a choice. She has to resign now.
Here’s how this all came up, and a lot of it concerns a guy named David Forsmark, an out-of-county campaign consultant who Geddis hired to run her campaign and act as her spokesperson.
Over on the Livingston County GOP Facebook page, there was a lot of angst among the Republicans that if Geddis won, Whitmer would be appointing her replacement. The Republicans didn’t want a Democrat appointing our next judge.
So to calm those fears, Forsmark did two things. First, her reminded everyone that Suzanne Geddis is a Republican, has always been a Republican, and would never let a Democrat name her replacement.
And second, Forsmark guaranteed – and that’s the exact word he used, “guaranteed” – that if Geddis were elected, she would resign immediately to let Snyder name her replacement.
This is the exact exchange that Forsmark had on the Livingston County GOP Facebook page back in September with a voter named Bill Schreiber:
Bill Schreiber: What’s the concern? Jenny the mole appointed Judge Brennan. That appears to have worked out well.
David Forsmark: There is no concern because a Republican governor WILL appoint a Geddis replacement in District Court. Guaranteed.
Can’t get any more direct than that. Geddis’ spokesperson guaranteed that she would resign if she won.
Ah, but don’t just take her spokesperson’s word for it. Speaking in her own voice on her campaign Facebook page, Geddis herself strongly implied – it not making an outright guarantee – that she would resign. This is what she wrote on Oct. 26:
“I would like to also clear up some more narrative that my opponent has been projecting into the community Although it is political (sic) expedient to say, some of you are concerned about a governor appointment of a District Judge, should I be elected to the Circuit Court. Be assured that I have the option of letting the Governor choose a person, for my replacement, that mirrors my philosophies.”
Seeing as how Geddis is a Republican, and Rick Snyder is a Republican, that sure sounds like Geddis is assuring Republicans that she would resign if she won.
Well, she won. And now she has to resign.
Now, whether she should have made the promise, or whether she should resign, is beside the point. She did make the promise, and now, and only honorable thing to do is to honor it. She has no choice but to resign immediately.
Perhaps she’s waiting until next week, and if so, we’ll give her the benefit of the doubt. But Snyder is only in office for seven more weeks, so the clock is ticking here.
We’ll check back on this story next week, to be sure.
I’m sure Judge Geddis doesn’t want her legacy to be that she made a campaign promise just to get elected, and then broke it.