The Republic | azcentral.com Tue Jul 16, 2013 12:12 AM

If the latest fracas between Gov. Jan Brewer and Republican Party operatives is any indication, it’s going to be a long, ugly 13 months until the 2014 primary election.

Brewer recently reached out to the right wing of her party in hopes of healing wounds left by the bipartisan passage of Medicaid expansion, saying it’s time to put differences aside and unite for the good of the party.

Conservative Republicans responded by sharpening their invective and moving forward with a series of “no confidence” votes against the governor and the 14 GOP lawmakers who backed the governor’s expansion plan last month.

Supporters of the new law to broaden health-care coverage for the poor under the federal Affordable Care Act say the legislative precinct committee members represent a small fringe of the GOP and their symbolic votes don’t matter.

But at the same time, they warn that, in some districts, working to knock off GOP moderates in the primary could give the seats to Democrats in the general election.

Brewer was concerned enough to send a letter Friday to thousands of precinct committee members across the state who make up the grass-roots political machinery of the GOP, making her case for Medicaid expansion and asking for their support.

“To continue efforts to potentially hurt and intimidate those who stood with me only puts Republicans’ chances for electoral success next year back into harm’s way,” the governor wrote.

“We are allies. It is time to move on, work together for a united front in 2014 and focus on the key issues that face our state, including the economy, quality education and public safety.”

Brewer sent a similar missive to GOP officials in March, when they were passing, during legislative-district meetings, harshly worded resolutions that opposed expansion and threatened the political careers of Republican lawmakers who supported it.

At that time, the governor argued that the GOP would be more at risk if it turned down the federal funds that will pay for most of the expansion and kicked their constituents off Medicaid.

But the conservative party loyalists say Brewer and the Republicans who teamed with Democrats to pass expansion have abandoned conservative GOP principles and made matters worse by pushing the bill through in a three-day special session that the governor called without consulting GOP leadership.

“They’re elitists who think that what they’ve done can be forgiven. They’re mistaken,” Maricopa County GOP Chairman A.J. LaFaro said. “We are not going to be able to defeat all of them, but we will definitely defeat some of them. They are Arizona’s 15 most wanted.”

So far, GOP executive committees in five legislative districts have approved no-confidence resolutions or resolutions to censure the renegade Republicans and Brewer for supporting Medicaid expansion.

Most also include Rep. Michele Reagan, R-Scottsdale, who voted for expansion once but against it in the end. Another vote is scheduled in Mesa’s Legislative District 16 on Thursday.

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My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government.
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