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Political Buzz – November 2011


See the Arizona Week Notebook Blog for a rundown of the facts and foibles of the fight over Arizona redistricting.

And stay tuned. There's surely more to come.

Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission Arizona Legislature Arizona Senate Arizona Supreme Court,


Republican State Sen. Ron Gould has been rumored to be considering a Congressional run in 2012, but he appears to be in the race now, no longer exploring whether to launch a campaign.

Gould filed paperwork with the Federal Elections Committee to become a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives in Arizona. He's said he'd like to run in what could be the new district four, along the state's western border with California (that is, if district lines don't change by the time the redistricting commission and the U.S. Department of Justice review the proposed lines).

While Gould's campaign committee is called "Gould for Congress (Exploratory)," he's submitted a formal statement of candidacy.

Usually, candidates who are exploring whether to run for a federal office open their exploratory committees with tax filings with the Internal Revenue Service, which is what Republican State Sen. Frank Antenori has done. Gould instead went straight to the Federal Elections Commission, which is where candidates are required to file financial and organizational records once they're officially running for office.

Frank Antenori Republican Ron Gould,


The Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission will resume meeting Tuesday. As it does, the specter of more legal fighting hangs over state politics.

The commission's will meet after a three-week hiatus for legal proceedings over the unseating and reinstalling of chair Colleen Mathis.

Meetings will be held Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday in Tempe so the five-member commission can review comments and testimony that came to it during a month of public meetings around the state. Those meetings ended in early November, when the commission was supposed to begin finalizing its congressional and legislative maps.

Instead, Gov. Jan Brewer notified Mathis that her removal was being sought for "gross negligence" in the way she conducted the commission's business. Brewer -- backed by a two-thirds vote in the state Senate -- accused Mathis of violating the state Open Meeting Law and of violating the state constitution's provisions for redistricting.

Mathis was removed on the Senate's vote, but she and the commission appealed to the state Supreme Court. The court first ordered Mathis reinstalled, saying Brewer had overstepped, then rejected the governor's request for a stay of the order pending further appeal.

The legal fireworks almost certainly won't end with that. Brewer's spokesman says she is considering her options, and legislators are considering theirs, too.

Don't be surprised if the governor takes another legal step this week, and that could include calling a special legislative session at which an early ballot measure would be proposed to in effect repeal the 2000 voter initiative that created the commission.

Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission Arizona Supreme Court Colleen Mathis,


Governor Brewer and Senate President Russell Pearce are asking the Arizona Supreme Court to stay the reinstatement of Colleen Mathis as the Chair of the Independent Redistricting Commission.

In paperwork filed with the state Supreme Court, attorneys for the Governor and Senate President argue that since the Court only issued an order and did not explain its reasoning nobody knows how the decision was flawed. Brewer and Pearce say that infringes on their constitutionally granted ability to remove a member of the IRC.

When the Arizona Supreme Court reinstated Mathis, the Vice Chief Justice wrote that an opinion explaining the ruling would come in “due time.” He did not, however, indicate an exact timetable.

Arizona Arizona Supreme Court Colleen Mathis Independent Redistricting Commission Jan Brewer,


Arizona Senate Minority Leader David Schapira of Tempe announced on his Website today that he is exploring a run for Congress.

Schapira made the announcement in a three-minute video in which he outlines what he considers to be the top issues -- children hurt by educational cuts, struggling middle class, "Congress completely out of touch".

"What I've learned is Arizonans don't want elected officials who focus on an extreme agenda," Schapira says in the video "We need jobs, not partisan bickering. Arizonans want leaders who represent the values of our community and have a vision for the future."

Because the state's congressional districts haven't been finalized for the next decade, it is uncertain exactly where Schapira would run. But like other potential candidates, his exploration is based on a hunch that there will be a Democratic-leaning or at the least a competitive district drawn where he lives.

Arizona Congressional Districts David Schapira,


Arizona's Independent Redistricting Commission is scheduled to resume its work next week, for the first time since the commission's chairwoman was removed from her position.

Last week the Arizona Superior Court overturned Colleen Mathis' removal as chair of the commission. The court said Gov. Jan Brewer's decision earlier this month to remove Mathis, with the Arizona Senate's approval, was inappropriate. The court sided with commission attorneys, who argued Brewer did not have cause to remove Mathis.

Since the ruling, Brewer has said she will consider her other options, which could include attempting again to remove Mathis, after first writing a more detailed justification letter.

In a statement, Mathis said this weekend she looks forward to continuing the commission work.

"I am hopeful that we can complete our mission before Christmas so that there is sufficient opportunity for the Department of Justice to approve the maps in time for state and county officials to complete their duties before the 2012 primary and general elections," Mathis said in the statement.

The commission will resume its work reviewing public comments gathered during a month of meetings on the draft Congressional and Legislative maps. After that, it may make changes to the draft maps, or not, before finalizing and submitting them to the Justice Department for review.

The four partisan members of the commission were not precluded from working while the courts took up the challenge to Mathis' removal. However, the rest of the commission is made up of two Democrats and two Republicans, meaning the politically-independent chairperson generally serves as a tie-breaking vote.

Brewer redistricting,

About Political Buzz

News, commentary, analysis from the AZPM political team: Christopher Conover, Andrea Kelly, Michael Chihak.