Michigan official voted out after anti-Muslim posts

May 10, 2018

Kalkaska, Mich, Village President Jeff Sieting sits in a pavilion with friends at Chalker Park, near the Township Hall, during a recall election on Tuesday, May 8, 2017. Voters have tossed Sieting out of office after he refused to apologize for anti-Muslim Facebook posts. (Jan-Michael Stump/Traverse City Record-Eagle via AP)

KALKASKA, Mich. (AP) — Voters have tossed a northern Michigan official out of office after he refused to apologize for anti-Muslim Facebook posts.

Unofficial results from Tuesday’s recall election show that Jeff Sieting was voted out as village president in Kalkaska and that voters elected Harley Wales to replace him, MLive.com reported. Sieting held the post for more than five years in the village about 230 miles (370 kilometers) northwest of Detroit.

A recall petition was filed in November over complaints that included Sieting’s social media posts. The Facebook posts called for the killing of “every last Muslim” and for nuclear weapons to be used on the world’s 10 largest Muslim-majority cities.

Another post suggested violence against members of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Sieting also voted to approve a budget that had a $500,000 deficit, according to the petition.

Sieting told the Traverse City Record-Eagle he’s relieved by the vote’s outcome.

“It’s been a lot longer than I’ve wanted to do this position,” he said.

Sieting saw some support from residents at the polls, several who said he had a positive impact on the town.

“I don’t want to judge him on his beliefs and opinions,” said resident Deborah Ferrell. “I want to judge him based on what he does for the community.”

But others expressed frustration with Sieting’s leadership.

“I think we need some new blood in this town,” said resident Penny Turner. “I’m tired of Jeff and his bad boy attitude.”

Wales will serve the rest of Sieting’s term and plans to run for re-election in November.

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