PHOENIX — Gov. Jan Brewer is going to use money she’s raised from donors inside and outside of Arizona to try to help elect Scott Smith as her successor.
“I’ve got a little nest egg that we have budgeted,” she said of Arizona’s Legacy, her state political action committee. And Brewer said she wants to use that “to make sure that he’s elected the next governor of the great state of Arizona.”
What Brewer refers to as her “little nest egg” is no insignificant sum.
The most recent reports showed she had more than $600,000 on hand. And while Brewer has done some spending since, she’s trying to keep a comfortable cushion.
“I hope to be able to go out and raise some more money and encourage people to contribute to the Legacy account to make sure we’ll have plenty of money to continue our endeavors,” she said.
Brewer has been busy spending a lot. In just the past two weeks, she has shelled out more than $140,000 for Republican legislators who backed her plan to expand the state’s Medicaid program and now face primary challenges.
The biggest beneficiary has been Doug Coleman of Apache Junction, trying to hang on to one of the two House seats in District 16. He’s had more than $47,000 worth of advertising paid for by Arizona’s Legacy.
Rep. Frank Pratt of Casa Grande got a $22,000 boost, as did seatmate T.J. Shope of Coolidge.
And that’s on top of $6,400 efforts for each of them a month ago.
Reps. Jeff Dial and Bob Robson, both of Chander, each got a $15,000 boost from Brewer, with Dial hoping to make the jump to the Senate to succeed the retiring John McComish.
Brewer said that’s just the beginning.
She also promised to use Arizona’s Legacy funds to help unseat some members of her own party who have fought her on issues like Medicaid. But the governor said this should not be seen as simply backing moderate Republicans over conservatives.
“I would like to refer to them as responsible, considerate Republicans,” Brewer said, adding that she is not so much concerned with her own legacy as she is in the best interests of the state.
“These people that I have interviewed and spoken with and talked with, ... they are the right ones to serve the people of Arizona during these times,” she said. “They’re sensible, they care about Arizona, and they will do the right thing.”
And some of that, Brewer said, will be protecting Medicaid expansion from legislative repeal.
“We know, moving forward, that it’ll be questioned and things will be tweaked,” the governor said. “But I want to be sure that the people that are in place have a good understanding of what it is and that they’re able to grasp what it is and what it means when you govern,” she continued.
“I believe these people have all those qualities.”