by Jim Nintzel
Conservative Republicans are vowing revenge on the GOP lawmakers who crossed party lines to support Gov. Jan Brewer’s Medicaid expansion.
The targeted lawmakers include state Rep. Ethan Orr, the only Republican lawmaker in Southern Arizona to vote in favor of the Medicaid expansion.
Orr represents Legislative District 9, which includes midtown Tucson, the Catalina Foothills and the Casas Adobes area. It’s one of the state’s few swing districts and is now represented in the House by Orr and Democrat Victoria Steele.
Orr has been drawing a lot of complaints from vocal conservatives in Southern Arizona, including Terri Proud, the one-term state representative who didn’t run for reelection last year.
Last week, Proud was prepared to jump back into the politics, telling Arizona Capitol Times reporter Hank Stephenson that she “endorsed Ethan Orr, I helped him and I feel betrayed. He used us, he flat-out used us… It was a blatant slap in the face.” While she stopped short of confirming plans to run against Orr, she did say she planned to announce a big decision on James T. Harris’ afternoon talk-radio show on Monday, June 17. When The Skinny tuned to Harris’ show yesterday, however, it was a repeat, as Harris decided to take a day off, perhaps to watch the Matrix trilogy again.
So we reached out to Proud via Facebook to see if she was still planning a campaign. She told us that “after much thought and consideration I don't plan on staying in LD9.”
Proud's decision makes a lot sense, given that LD9, being a swing district with a slight Democratic advantage, probably isn't a good fit for someone as conservative as she is.
Former state lawmaker Frank Antenori, who is leading the charge against the Medicaid expansion, says that he knows at least two other conservatives who want to run against Orr in the primary, as well as a Libertarian who might get into the race to drain votes away from Orr in the general election if he survives the primary.
We suppose that if Proud still wants to make a political comeback, she can relocate to heavily Republican LD11, which is now represented by the GOP troika of Al Melvin in the Senate and Adam Kwasman and Steve Smith in the House.
Melvin has decided his talents are deserving of a wider stage and plans to run for governor next year, leaving an open Senate seat. Smith, who lives up in Maricopa, plans to make a move to the upper chamber, leaving an open House seat that has already attracted the attention of SaddleBrooke resident and Melvin ally Vince Leach and former Pima County Republican Party chairman Bob Westerman.
There may, however, be two seats available in the House, should Kwasman follow through on his plan to run for Congress against Democratic U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick. (A situation that might be more complicated should Kwasman decide to quit the Legislature halfway through his first term to concentrate on that congressional campaign.)