Arizona State Senate impeaches redistricting commission chair

On Tuesday, the majority-Republican Arizona State Senate voted to impeach the chair of the state’s Independent Redistricting Commission, Colleen Mathis. Republicans have accused Mathis, who is a registered independent, of being overly partisan and too secretive about the Commission’s business. The party-line vote was 21-6 to impeach Mathis, the sole independent on the Commission.

As the Rose reported a few days ago, the move was precipitated by a letter from Republican Governor Jan Brewer to the Mathis, accusing the Commission of “gross misconduct” and threatening to initiate impeachment proceedings.

Arizona gained one Congressional seat following the 2010 census, bringing its total to nine. The map drawn by the Commission has four strongly Republican districts, two strongly Democratic districts, and three fairly competitive districts. Currently, the state is represented in the U.S. House by five Republicans and three Democrats.

There will almost be certainly be legal challenges and turmoil as the state attempts to sort out its redistricting process following this upheaval. Although the Commission had planned to vote on a final map around Thanksgiving, legal challenges may now delay that process.

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