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Brewer committee expected to help pro-Medicaid Republicans

gop-elephantGov. Jan Brewer is hitting the fundraising trail again for an independent expenditure committee that is expected to help the Republican lawmakers who backed her Medicaid expansion plan.

The governor will headline a fundraiser on Nov. 18 for Arizona’s Legacy, an IE formed in late April, during the height of her battle over Medicaid expansion, to be Brewer’s political arm in the 2014 elections. Fundraiser invitations for the committee identify Arizona’s Legacy as a committee “that supports and advances Governor Jan Brewer’s pragmatic conservative governance in the State of Arizona.”

A fundraiser in May brought in more than $200,000, with the event’s four co-chairs, Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association, IASIS Healthcare, Vanguard Health Systems and Reginald Ballantyne, a Vanguard executive, each contributing $25,000. An invitation for the upcoming fundraiser urges people to contribute up to $50,000.

During the legislative session, Brewer promised political help for the Republicans who supported her, and political observers expect Arizona’s Legacy to help fulfill that pledge. The 13 Republicans who voted for Brewer’s Medicaid plan riled grassroots conservatives, and in some cases inspired GOP primary challenges against them.

Brewer said she hasn’t decided whether it will solely assist the pro-Medicaid Republicans or help other candidates as well.

“I hope to be able to influence elections and get a message out to the people of Arizona about what good government is all about,” Brewer said.

Some of the 13 Republicans who voted for Medicaid expansion don’t have any primary challengers yet. But at least eight have GOP primary opponents.

Rep. John Allen, R-Scottsdale, who strongly opposed the governor’s plan, said he expects Brewer to use Arizona’s Legacy to help pro-Medicaid Republicans such as his seatmate, Rep. Heather Carter.

“I imagine the governor’s going to decide who’s been loyal to her worldview and who hasn’t, so I would assume that’s who it would go to,” Allen said.

The Republican lawmakers who broke with their party to support Medicaid expansion have already gotten plenty of help from the governor and allies in the health care industry. A fundraiser for the “health care heroes” in September reportedly raised about $350,000, or nearly $27,000 for each of the 13 lawmakers. The Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association hosted another fundraiser for the pro-expansion Republicans in late October.

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