I’m surprised this hasn’t yet gone national in a big way. But it will. Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona — already a nationally polarizing figure because of the state’s immigration law — has now pulled the kind of gubernatorial power grab that first drew the nation’s attention to Wisconsin. And this one could have a direct impact on the battle for the House of Reprsentatives.
The details are dry and legalistic. But the gist is that Brewer gave the ax to the head of an independent panel that’s drawing up new redistricting lines for next year’s legislative and Congressional races. Dems are charging that Brewer removed the woman unlawfully, and argue that she — with the help of the GOP-controlled state senate — only pulled the maneuver because Republicans don’t like the redistricting lines the commission is drawing up.
The Associated Press explains:
Gov. Jan Brewer and the GOP-controlled state Senate on Tuesday touched off legal and political battles as they took the unprecedented step of removing the chairwoman of the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission.
On a 21-6 party line vote, the Senate gave the Republican governor the two-thirds majority vote she needed to oust Colleen Coyle Mathis, citing “gross misconduct” in her role at the helm of the independent panel. The commission is in the midst of drawing new political boundaries for next year’s legislative and congressional races...
Democrats said Republicans fueled the effort because they don’t like the draft maps the commission has produced, especially the proposed new congressional map...
The draft maps particularly agitated Arizona’s GOP congressmen, who don’t like the fact that districts currently seen as “safe” Republican seats would become more competitive, and who feel lines were manipulated to favor incumbent Democrats. They pressured Brewer to also remove the panel’s two Democratic commissioners. However, the Senate could not muster the votes.
The fact that Republicans didn’t like the way the redistricting map was shaping up doesn’t even seem to be in dispute, though Republicans are claiming incompetence was the reason for the chairwoman’s ouster. It’s unclear how directly this will impact the Congressional races, because this fight is still in legal limbo. But national Dems in charge of the battle for the House are closely watching this battle to see how it will impact next year’s Congressional races.
The kicker: Brewer wasn’t even in Arizona when she pulled the move. She was in New York, promoting her new book about her heroic battles to “secure the border” despite opposition from “the liberal media,” and directed her Secretary of State to do it. Keep an eye on this one, it will get interesting.