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Brewer, coalition called off plan to oust GOP leaders

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer explains during an impromptu press conference following the passage of her Medicaid expansion plan that she and her advisors had considered having the legislative leadership ousted in order to pass it. (Photo by Evan Wyloge/Arizona Capitol Times)

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer explains during an impromptu press conference following the passage of her Medicaid expansion plan that she and her advisors had considered having the legislative leadership ousted in order to pass it. (Photo by Evan Wyloge/Arizona Capitol Times)

Gov. Jan Brewer confirmed that she and the legislative members of her pro-Medicaid expansion coalition crafted a plan to oust Senate President Andy Biggs and House Speaker Andy Tobin from their leadership positions when lawmakers went into special session.

But she said the action was never taken because the two Republican leaders “did the smart thing” and did not try to stop the bipartisan coalition from bringing the budget up for a vote.

Speaking to reporters shortly after the Senate gave final approve to her budget package, Brewer said the threat encouraged Biggs and Tobin to allow the bills to move through special session without delay.

“We did (discuss removing the leaders),” Brewer said. “I think that we were prepared to have (coalition members) go back and speak to them and tell them that this was what was going to happen, and that we had our numbers.”

“They weren’t rolled. They kept their elected positions as speaker and as president. I think they very possibly could have been rolled by the majority of the members,” Brewer said.

“I don’t think anybody wanted to see that happen. But when they realized that we had the numbers and we were ready to go and do the people’s work, that they did the smart thing, as any leader would do, (and) do their job and preside over their respectful houses and do the process… that is supposed to take place over there.”

When Brewer called a surprise special session on Tuesday evening, rumors ran rampant through the Capitol that the coalition of legislative Democrats and pro-expansion Republicans would oust Biggs and Tobin, potentially replacing them with Sen. Steve Pierce and Rep. Frank Pratt. Some lawmakers suggested that the ouster would only be temporary during the special session.

Tobin even said he was prepared to step aside if need be.

But the rumored coup never came to pass in either chamber. Rep. Bob Robson, a member of Brewer’s coalition, indicated that the potential ouster was a contingency plan that would only be used if Biggs and Tobin obstructed the special session.

“There’s no intent to do any of that unless procedurally things don’t happen,” Robson, R-Chandler, said after the House adjourned on Tuesday night.

3 comments

  1. Nazi Germany comes to mind here. Arizona government appears to be running with a bunch of “brain dead collectives.” Governor Jan Brewer has denied citizen input in educaton as well. She has stripped local control and turned education over to corporations to run for profit. She belongs in China or Cuba not the United States of America. She should take her hand picked “executive order” education council with her.

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