Brewer ditches plan to gut Arizona redistricting panel

Arizona voters in 2000 approved a ballot measure that gave the power to perform the once-per-decade redrawing of the state's legislative and congressional map to an independent commission. But when the 5-member commission drew a map that shored up Democratic districts and created a new district that could be winnable for Democrats, Republicans balked.

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Brewer acted to remove the chairwoman of the commission and the state Senate gave that decision its blessing, but the state Supreme Court threw the decision out. Brewer asked the court to reconsider and clarify how she could reframe her request, but the court said it was the lack of substance, not the format, that led them to reject her decision to remove Colleen Mathis, the commission's chairwoman.

With options running short, Republicans floated a plan to ask Arizona voters to throw out the commission structure they put in place in 2000 and replace it with a new process — possibly returning control of redistricting to the Republican-controlled Legislature.

"Our action must be reasoned and rational, and there must be a defined path to victory with voters," Brewer said Tuesday. "I will not call a Special Session on this topic unless and until I believe those bars have been met.”

Brewer's decision not to force a special session to start the process of putting a measure on the ballot reflected an awareness that she lacked either the votes, the money or the power to get the measure approved by voters, said a Democratic operative in Arizona.

"Unless they find some new peg to go after Mathis, right now it looks like they're throwing in the towel."