This is an excerpt from a column I wrote for Deadline Detroit earlier this week.
By Chad Selweski
Two years ago, Democrat Dayne Walling’s political career was as dead as a fish floating belly-up in the murky Flint River.
The Flint mayor had lost his re-election bid to political newcomer Karen Weaver by nearly 2000 votes as the city’s water crisis produced a flood of news reports revealing the many ways that city and state officials had blundered (or worse) in allowing lead pipes to taint the drinking water.
At that point, Flint’s unofficial municipal symbol was a plastic jug filled with bottled drinking water. Walling’s pursuit of another term in office never had a chance.
After all, the ex-mayor served as the biggest cheerleader for the ultimately deadly decision in 2014 to switch from Lake Huron to the hometown Flint River as the source of the city’s tap water. At the time, he infamously boasted that the city would enjoy “pure Flint Michigan mineral water” from their faucet.
Yet, in 2018 Walling, 43, is back at it in the political arena as a candidate for the Michigan Legislature. Walling announced last week that he is running for an open House seat that includes part of Flint and some surrounding communities.
Is he delusional? Or hoping that all is forgotten and forgiven by voters?
Perhaps Walling’s candidacy represents the surest sign yet that political fallout from Flint’s water crisis is fading — despite the dozen Legionnaire’s deaths and the lead damage done to potentially thousands of kids’ organs. His announcement, which would have generated public derision a couple of years ago, was essentially greeted with a collective shrug.
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