Be afraid. Be very afraid.
The Tea-Publicans got together yesterday to select their leadership for the new legislature convening in January, and surprise! (not), they elected Tea Party leadership. If you liked the last legislature, you are going to love this GOP insane clown posse.
(Hmmm, did the mythical moderate Republican Ethan Orr (R-Tucson) get to vote for leadership, or did his uncertain status of returning disqualify him from voting? Inquiring minds want to know.)
The Arizona Capitol Times (subscription required) reports House GOP selects David Gowan as next speaker (this guy was Tea Party before it was “cool”):
Rep. David Gowan of Sierra Vista will replace House Speaker Andy Tobin, who lost his bid against Democratic U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick in Arizona’s 1st Congressional District. Tobin gaveled the meeting into order, welcoming “an even larger Republican Caucus” before the doors closed and the Capitol press corps, lobbyists and staffers waited outside for results.
Republican Rep. J.D. Mesnard of Chandler challenged Gowan for the position, but came up short. Republican Rep. Eddie Farnsworth of Gilbert was also intending to run for the position, but ultimately pulled out after it became clear he did not have the support.
The caucus also selected Republican Rep. Steve Montenegro of Litchfield Park to be the next majority leader. Rep. Rick Gray of Sun City decided not to run for the position after it became clear that he did not have the necessary votes.
Republican Rep. David Livingston of Peoria beat Republican Rep. Karen Fann of Prescott in a close race for the position of majority whip.
Livingston said that after several years of GOP infighting between moderates and conservatives, the new leadership team hopes to end the strife.
“The goal is to get this caucus to work together, and work smoothly. That’s the goal but we’ll see how it goes,” he said.
The new leadership team is decidedly more conservative than the previous leadership. All three hail from the right wing of the Republican Party. Gowan, however, won the election with support from the caucus’ more moderate members [including E.Orr?], and reportedly promised to put moderate Republican Rep. Bob Robson in the position of speaker pro tempore.
Over on the Senate side, AZ Senate GOP chooses new leaders:
As expected, Senate President Andy Biggs retained his post.
Republicans also selected Sen. Steve Yarbrough, R-Chandler, as the next majority leader. Sen. Gail Griffin, Hereford, will serve as the next majority whip.
The vote, held at the Fairfield Inn and Suites in Phoenix, took less than one minute, as all three leaders were elected unanimously by the 17-member GOP caucus. It’s the first time a leader was elected by acclamation since 2008, when Senate Republicans voted Bob Burns as the Senate president, said Sen. Steve Pierce – the only active senator in the caucus for that vote.
Yarbrough said the unanimous votes were “clearly encouraging,” and other lawmakers echoed his sentiment that the vote presents the Senate Republicans as a unified front come 2015.
Arizona, you are so screwed! This is what happens when you don’t turn out to vote.