Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer should be impeached for removing the independent leader of her state's redistricting commission, the head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee charged Friday.
The Republican governor called a special session of the legislature earlier this week, and the Republican-controlled Senate voted to remove Redistricting Chairman Colleen Coyle Mathis, the only independent on the five-member committee.
The lawmakers accused Mathis of "substantial neglect of duty" and "gross misconduct." Mathis is pursuing legal remedies, and Democrats allege that Republicans' real problem with Mathis is that they wanted to spare two freshmen GOP representatives, Ben Quayle and David Schweikert, from having to run in the same district.
"I think the people of Arizona should consider impeaching Jan Brewer for what she did," DCCC head Steve Israel said in a briefing with reporters Friday on the upcoming electoral landscape.
Under the new districts that Mathis and her commission drew up, Arizona, which picked up one seat after the 2010 Census, would have four Republican seats, two Democratic seats and three that would be toss-ups.
Israel vowed the DCCC would do all it could to undo the move by Brewer and her Arizona Senate allies.
"We will push every button, we will use every strategy, we will appeal to any fair court to redress this trampling of a fair and independent process," Israel pledged.
"Instead of impeaching the highly regarded, truly independent leader of that body, that Republicans and Democrats agreed upon, Gov. Brewer ought to think about impeaching herself," Israel said, before getting in a dig at the governor for taking time out to promote her new book while the state Senate voted Tuesday. "She can't do it because she was in New York when she did this power play in Arizona, by the way, trying to sell her book."
A spokesman for Brewer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The issue in Arizona is important for Israel because his committee is trying to win back some 25 seats in next year's House races, and he believes that redistricting in several states has been better for Democrats than many expected.
Update at 5:20 p.m.:
Brewer was asked later Friday on Alan Colmes' radio show exactly what Mathis did that warranted removal. Brewer was unable to provide a specific answer, according to a report by ThinkProgress.
COLMES: What did Colleen do that was inappropriate, Colleen Mathis?
BREWER: Well she acted, uh, inappropriately. Well it was very, pretty much obvious that she in communications, and doing things, uh, not in the public, and the people of Arizona deserve that --
COLMES: You mean she was doing things secretly? Like what?
BREWER: They just simply need to operate in a lawful and open fashion…
COLMES: I'm trying to understand what she did. What are you accusing her of having done?
BREWER: Well she wasn't operating in the proper manner.