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Arizona Governor Jan Brewer earned much conservative praise for her colorful duels with President Obama. So Republicans from coast to coast were stunned to find her transformed into a passionate Obamacare booster.
Earlier this month, Brewer challenged the authority of the GOP-led state legislature and rammed through a vast expansion of the Medicaid program through Obamacare. A “Brewer Coalition” of every Democrat and a handful of Republicans engineered a 3:40 a.m. house vote, refusing to answer any questions about the controversial measure. The legislation was rushed through the state senate and proudly signed by the governor.
But if Brewer and her liberal allies thought that was the end of it, they were sorely mistaken. Tea Party activists, grassroots conservatives and much of the state GOP faithful are fighting back against the shocking betrayal.
Businessman and attorney Thomas Grier, immediately announced that he would oppose the Obrewercare-supporting Arizona House Republican in his district. He was followed by conservative activist Shawnna Bolick who formed an exploratory committee to replace her wayward legislator. According to precinct committeemen across the state, many other candidates are lining up to primary various members of the Brewer Coalition who ran as conservatives, but voted as Democrats.
The PCs for Legislative District 1 voted unanimously to condemn their state senator Steve Pierce’s vote to expand Medicaid, and issued a blistering denunciation:
We move that LD1 express a vote of no confidence in our LD1 Senator Steve Pierce who overwhelmingly and completely voted with Democrats regarding the Medicaid expansion and amendments (some are saying up to 50 times) in opposition to his fellow Republican senators, constituents, and party platform.
But primaries and press releases aren’t the only tools grassroots activists are employing. The recently formed United Republican Alliance of Principled Conservatives filed paperwork this week for a ballot referendum to stop Medicaid expansion.
The group will kick off the “People’s Veto” with a rally at the State Capitol this Saturday at 10 a.m. Volunteers need to gather 100,000 signatures within the next 82 days to place the measure on the ballot. Summer isn’t the optimal time for activism in Arizona, but voters across the state know that their financial future is worth some sweat equity.
All of this opposition is making Brewer sweat too. Within hours of filing the People’s Veto, the governor’s allies began attacking the URAPC, formed an opposition committee headed by former DC lobbyists, and scheduled a counter rally at the capitol.
It’s shaping up to be a long, hot summer in Arizona. With the help of conservatives in state and outside of it, fiscal sanity will carry the day.
Follow Jon on Twitter at @ExJon.