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."
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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.
Time for Joe Arpaio to go.
Thank GOD! Now hopefully we can get someone competent for governor.
Sheriff Arpaio as Governor of Arizona? Sweet! : D
The red is fading from Arizona...
Isn't this a sign of the Apocalypse?
on to the next Christian nut case to take her place.
Joe Arpaio is a bully and a coward. Jan brewer isn't much better, but have fun living in the official first true Police State in the good ol' USA if Arpaio gets elected.
Steven Seagal has been working as a Maricopa County deputy there for awhile and he's also talked about running for Governor. Another former actor as a politician!
Look out evildoers!
"You guys think you're above the law. Well you ain't above mine!"
"Not good news. Lets hope a democrat doesnt get into office or AZ will turn into another California!"
Nah, who wants California's $20 billion budget surplus? It is embarassing that any American would compare the worlds 7th largest economy with a cess-pool state. Without California, America is on the economic par with Pakistan.
Now AZ can some some TRUE conservative to lead the state... just what they deserve.
She was stuck...hated by the left AND the right. By the left for being a bigot, and by the right for not being enough of one.
Maybe we can hand Arizona off to Mexico? It's clear from the postings above they don't want to be part of the civilized world.
1st off, all of you people saying Sherrif Joe should run seem to be unaware his legal defenses have cost maricopa county more than we paid for our light rail system. and we WAY overpaid for the lightrail. If you think he is electable on the state level, you need to get your head checked.
also jan brewer should wear large sunglasses.... and perhaps a mask covering the rest of her face too.
Arpiao is a ridiculous option. Lawsuits aside he's elderly and out of touch.
Is she leaving office because her face has been inducted into the "Baseball Mitt Hall of Fame"?
I see the headline, what's with the picture of Chief Dan George?
She was a good Governor. God bless her.
Good bye. Go stick that finger where the sun don't shine!
It would be interesting if Sheriff Joe Arpaio does indeed run, I think. There are those hoping he will. If he gets elected or misses it by a little then the legislature does represent the state on how they really feel. However, if he were to lose in a landslide, then that would mean the legislature hijacked the state for its own agenda. Not taking sides, just stating an observation depending on how it works out. Of course, if he doesn't run, then it is up to everyone for speculation. Either way, the next election should be interesting out there.
One bigot down one more to go. Sheriff JOSE you're next!
She looks 400 years old
It's Arizona, just means someone even more extreme will take her place.
Wonder if Arpaio will bother to investigate pedophiles that rape Hispanic children. I know he apologized for not investigating latino children that were raped by pedophiles, but I never thought that apology was sincere.
Im going to assume that the fools rooting for arpaio are not from Arizona, we Arizonans know the type of law enforcement debacle this racist clown has created. We need to get rid of the entire dog and pony show that represents the state and bring in people that will not keep embarassing Arizona and its people.
This woman trashed the state and spent lots of tax dollars traveling the world several times, on the pretense of looking for business to move to AZ. Hopefully, AZ will now come to its senses and elect a Democrat who can save the state from the crazy law makers in power.
Don't let the door hit your backside Ms Bruja! Arizona will never be as good as California even when Arnold was Gov. Thanks Mr Brown for leading California back to prosperity.