Without A United Front The Store Fronts Will Soon Disappear

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[Photo credit Pernillan / Creative Commons BY-SA]

Author’s Note: I erroneously identified Rep. Ben Toma as an opponent of the resolution to end Governor Ducey’s stay-at-home executive order. Toma reportedly opposes the resolution AND the Governor’s plan, leaving him in the uncomfortable position of not liking a policy while also not liking the steps needed to reverse that policy.

Arizona’s Republican legislators had planned on convening this week to address the dire straits small business owners are facing due to Governor Doug Ducey’s stay-at-home order.

That plan was dashed when it became obvious that the usual and one not-so-usual suspects – Joanne Osborne, Ben Toma, TJ Shope, and Michelle Udall were going to hang tight with the Governor and legislative Democrats.

As Warren Petersen said on KFYI’s James T. Harris show on Thursday, every Republican had to be on board – every vote was needed to end what was described as Ducey’s “tyrannical” treatment. While Petersen didn’t name names, word from within the caucus has it that when push came to shove, Representatives Osborne, Udall, Shope and Toma buckled and refused to go along with GOP efforts to re-open Arizona sooner, in an effort to save small businesses in particular.

Unwilling to take a stand against the Governor on behalf of Arizona’s small business owners and growing ranks of unemployed, Osborne complained incessantly during Thursday’s Republican Caucus meeting. She argued it was unwise to take on the Governor, which some members assumed was due to her tough upcoming primary against conservative former legislator Steve Montenegro. Udall is facing a similarly tough challenge while Shope and Toma are likely to cruise to re-election.

It isn’t unusual for Osbourne and Udall to work against the Republican caucus or to work hand-in-hand with the Democratic minority, nor is it all that unusual for Shope, although he has stayed closer to leadership since being named Speaker Pro-Tem, a largely ceremonial position that is nevertheless considered a plum assignment. The surprise in the group would be the normally solid Ben Toma who represents a conservative district and whose seat mate Frank Carroll has been very vocal on the topic.