March 12th, 2014
02:13 PM ET
9 months ago

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer won't seek reelection

Updated 3:06 p.m. ET, 3/12/2014

(CNN) – Republican Gov. Jan Brewer of Arizona announced Wednesday she will not run for reelection.

"There does come a time to pass the torch of leadership," she said at a school in Glendale. "After completing this term in office, I will be doing just that."

Her announcement comes amid questions about whether she could legally seek another four years in office.

As Arizona secretary of state in 2009, Brewer automatically succeeded Janet Napolitano as governor when the Democrat became President Barack Obama's homeland security secretary. Arizona is one of a few states without a lieutenant governor.

Brewer sought and won a full term in 2010 and hadn't ruled out trying again.

But Arizona law dictates that a governor can't run for more than two consecutive terms, and a partial term is counted as a full term. In other words, Brewer's time in office before she was elected in 2010 would count as a full four-year term.

However, Joseph Kanefield, Brewer's former general counsel, argued in a 2012 opinion piece for the Arizona Republic that the governor could still legally run for another term because the state's law was "intended to apply only to an elected or appointed partial term rather than one in which a governor inherits the office by constitutional succession," as in Brewer's case with Napolitano in 2009.

Though she's not running for reelection, Brewer vowed to "work until my final hours, completing the people's business."

"Both my pen and my veto stamp have plenty of ink," she said.

The governor made headlines last month when she vetoed a bill that passed the Republican-controlled state legislature and would have allowed businesses that asserted their religious beliefs the right to deny service to gay and lesbian customers.

Perhaps her most famous move in office was the 2010 signing of a law that requires immigrants to carry their alien registration documents at all times and requires police to question people if there is reason to suspect that they're in the United States illegally.

Critics fiercely fought the law and the case made its way to the Supreme Court. While the high court in 2012 struck down key parts of the Arizona statute, the justices let stand the controversial provision allowing police to check a person's immigration status wile enforcing other laws.

The immigration law helped cement Brewer’s reputation on the national level as a conservative firebrand.

The issue also became a point of contention between the Arizona governor and President Barack Obama. At one point in 2012, the two had a now-famous confrontational encounter when Brewer greeted Obama on the tarmac at an airport during his visit to the state.

At her announcement Wednesday, Brewer pledged to “remain a proud cheerleader and champion" for Arizona.

"Serving as governor has been the privilege and pleasure of my life," she said. "It's been a challenge of the most rewarding kind. Standing before you today is truly bittersweet."

A number of Republicans, including Secretary of State Ken Bennett, state Treasurer Doug Ducey, and Mesa Mayor Scott Smith, had already announced bids for the GOP gubernatorial nomination well before Brewer's Wednesday announcement.


Filed under: Arizona • Jan Brewer
soundoff (213 Responses)
  1. alfuc

    From a unconfirmed source, she is going to concentrate on 2016 Presidential race.

    We have to wait for the official confirmation.

    March 12, 2014 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  2. taxman

    GOOD RIDDANCE!!! Lets hope the people of Arizona will be smart enough to elect someone who will reverse all her idiotic decisions.

    Somehow I doubt it given the power of the allmighty $ and the Citizens United fiasco.

    March 12, 2014 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  3. mannycl

    We'll miss you. One of the best governors we ever had. The best of lucks.

    March 12, 2014 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  4. USAF Vet

    Let the even more extreme nut jobs start jockeying for position to succeed her!

    March 12, 2014 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  5. Sister Vallium

    Be careful what you wish for

    March 12, 2014 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  6. NevadaJimbo

    Always gives me a chuckle when people post an opinion about a governor while living in another state.

    March 12, 2014 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  7. ShawnDH

    alfuc wrote: "From a unconfirmed source, she is going to concentrate on 2016 Presidential race. We have to wait for the official confirmation."
    ____________________

    From this source: HAHAHAHHAHAA.

    March 12, 2014 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  8. jason

    Now it is time for Sen John McCain to step down as well....Oh sorry, he has to take his FREE Govt trip to the Ukraine first.....Please do not seek re-election John.....PLEASE PLEASE.....

    March 12, 2014 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  9. Larry L

    Arizona will remain a state to avoid for business, vacations, or residence until the Tea Party influence is flushed from the system.

    March 12, 2014 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  10. drew

    she did an OK job. she wasnt responsible for the various controversial state bills that came out of the legislator, and had the unpleasant responsibility to apologize for them.

    March 12, 2014 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  11. Robert Heaps

    This it the most pointless announcement of the year.Brewer didn't have a choice! She couldn't legally have run even if she had wanted to run. She is TERM LIMITED by the Arizona State Constitution. She wanted to run, but decided she couldn't find a way around that pesky Constitution!

    March 12, 2014 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  12. Hill William

    Before she can "pass the torch of leadership," she'll have to retrace her steps and figure out where she dropped it all those years ago...(hope it wasn't during dry season)

    March 12, 2014 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  13. DustyOnes

    Good...now a real conservative can take over. Joe Arpaio .

    March 12, 2014 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  14. Ally B

    Governor Sarah Palin is rumored to be maneuvering for the governorship of AZ, with the help of major players in the state.

    March 12, 2014 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  15. pioneer 16

    They may get visitors and some respect back !

    March 12, 2014 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  16. mb

    seems to me she voted for the people in her state and got them insurance and saved them from the religious right-a good job Jan

    March 12, 2014 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  17. Bill, Bloomington Il

    Arizona should elect a dem and then you can be bankrupt also.

    March 12, 2014 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  18. J

    Many state wish they had a Governor with a backbone like Jan. I would vote for her again. We need more people that are willing to fight for the values America was built on, not these new progressive ideas that are restricting citizens and allowing illegals more rights that those of us who pay taxes. Hopefully Sheriff Joe will run. My family would vote YES in a heartbeat.

    March 12, 2014 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  19. liz

    I guess she figures she did enough damage.

    March 12, 2014 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  20. CovertRain

    One of the biggest embarrassments for a Governor this state has ever had. Good riddance.

    March 12, 2014 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  21. ShawnDH

    DustyOnes wrote: "Good...now a real conservative can take over. Joe Arpaio."
    ______________

    Gross! So you want Arizona to be an even bigger pariah than it already is? Great plan!

    March 12, 2014 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  22. DENNA

    @ DustyOnes – Good...now a real conservative can take over. Joe Arpaio
    ...............................................................................................................................................
    Please, not Ol' Rappin' Joe.

    March 12, 2014 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  23. NudeTruth

    Great Gov. Brewer is she will be missed. I hope Joe Arpaio is the next Gov

    March 12, 2014 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  24. Curtis

    There is a god!

    March 12, 2014 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  25. Wallster

    Brewer knows she won't get the backing of the extreme right that legislate Arizona. They passed a bill that was destined to become a law that would have allowed businesses to discriminate against gay and lesbian citizens. Thankfully she used her constitutional right to oppose this bill with a veto. Arizona has a major problem with their legislative leaders and I can't imagine who they're going to nominate that would be worse than Jan Brewer.

    March 12, 2014 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
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