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Brewer: No special session without “clear path to victory” at the ballot

Gov. Jan Brewer today said she won’t call a special legislative session to either repeal or reform the independent redistricting process, despite calls from some lawmakers that she do so this week.

The governor’s emphatic statement, which was released after she met with House Speaker Andy Tobin and Senate President Steve Pierce, means the chances of lawmakers convening by tomorrow to meet a deadline for placing items on the Feb. 28 ballot have all but evaporated.

Calling it disappointing, Senate leaders called on Brewer to reconsider her decision late this afternoon.

They reiterated the allegations they made against Independent Redistricting Commission Chairwoman Colleen Mathis earlier this month when they supported the governor’s effort to remove her, and argued that Arizona voters deserve the opportunity to revisit the idea of having an independent commission draw the state’s political maps.

“The flaws of having one unaccountable and unelected person making such vital decisions for the state have been exposed,” said the joint statement by Senate President-elect Steve Pierce, Majority Leader Andy Biggs and Majority Whip Frank Antenori

They also said Senate and House leaders have assured the governor as recently as this morning that there’s sufficient support to pass a referral to repeal Prop. 106 or reform the mapping process.

The governor said she’s aware that she and lawmakers face a narrow window to pass a referral in time for the presidential preference election in February.

She also has some heartburn over the current redistricting process, she said.

“I know that some legislators, especially those of my political family, are anxious for me to call a special session so that they may pursue a ballot proposal to repeal or reform Prop 106. But we cannot act in haste – or in anger – when it comes to something as critical as the way in which Arizona draws its congressional and legislative districts,” the governor said in a written statement.

“Our action must be reasoned and rational, and there must be a defined path to victory with voters. I will not call a Special Session on this topic unless and until I believe those bars have been met,” she added.

Brewer met with Pierce and Tobin this morning, at which time it became apparent there was no consensus among lawmakers about how to move forward, said Matthew Benson, the governor’s spokesman.

Uncertainty on the part of legislative leaders “has been part of the issue, because they’re still talking sometimes about reform (and) sometimes about repeal,” he said, adding that the Senate favored repeal and the House was pushing for reforms.

Although Brewer has concerns about the way redistricting is conducted in Arizona and the process this year that led to her and the Senate removing a commissioner, only to have the Supreme Court reinstate her, Benson said the governor wasn’t willing to embark on “a fool’s errand.”

“She doesn’t want to pursue a $5 million election on this unless the Legislature reaches consensus on what path it wants to pursue and unless it’s clear that this path can be victorious with voters,” Benson said.

In her news release, Brewer said the most difficult part of being a leader is to tell people what they don’t want to hear.

“This is one of those moments,” she said as she spelled out her reasons for refusing to call a special session.

5 comments

  1. It’s hard to believe, but encouraging, that Governor Brewer is showing some prudence in declining to be talked into calling a special session so the legislature could put an anti-redistricting commission, anti-will of the people measure on the worst of all ballots, the presidential beauty contest election. I don’t believe the people have changed their minds about having an independent commission draw district lines. I suspect that most who are less than enthusiastic about the particular lines of their own districts are still in favor of the process and wouldn’t want to go back to the days when a bully in the legislature could manage the art work so that his size and shape would match perfectly with those of the district in which he wants to run… preferably unopposed.

  2. This is a sane, logical, common sense conclusion reached by the Governor and Legislative Leadership. A special election would cost Arizona voters at least $5 million. That is $5 million we don’t have. Thank you!

    A lot is still ahead in the redistricting. Maps can still be inputed. The final battle may well be in the courts.

    There are a bunch of tea party emails floating around demanding and threatening legislators and the Governor on this issue. They are irresponsible. On one hand, these so-called tea party conservatives want to cut government spending, but have no problem asking Arizonans to spend $5 million we don’t have. The $5 million could be better spend taking care of Arizonans in need of critical health care and public safety.

    The tea party groups have done little to actually win any election in recent days. Their candidates in Phoenix elections went no where. These groups are more and more becoming boisterious complainers – not real political activitists that can turn out votes, walk in large numbers to gain grass roots support or raise money critical to any campaign winning. The leader of one of these groups is reportedly a convicted felon and another seemingly got away with a few years of a tax holiday on property taxes until the county assessor caught the mistake.

    The vast majority of Arizonans are most likely moderate, struggling middle to lower income voters who simply want to see their state government do something statesman-like and do their best to put people back to work.

  3. What Brewer meant to say was that in spite of her boy Coughlin’s support for the idea of finding a nefarious way of trashing the IRC, polling shows her numbers are tanking over the attempted power grab….down to 42% approval. LOL.

  4. Bravo Governor Brewer! Shows she is in touch with the political reality of the voters of Arizona. They don’t want the legislature to have the power to define the redistricting process.

  5. It is obvious that the Governor knows that Prop 106 would not be repealed by the voters, especially in view of what has just happened. Failure to repeal would mean that the current system would become locked in and virtually impossible to change.

    On the other hand, a sensible bi-partisan reform of the Commission might well be approved by voters , but such a plan is unlikely to be passed by the current legislature. The Governor is wise to wait for the next legislature to see if they can do better.

    Ironically, it is possible that if the Governor had not tried to remove Mathis, repeal of 106 might have had a better chance of approval by the voters. They would only be judging the Commission’s behavior rather than having to evaluate a power grab by the Governor. Those legislators who claim that they voted to depose Mathis on condition that the Governor make possible the repeal of 106 were obviously clueless.

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