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. Chuckbrown0916

    As a Californian, I can only hope Arpaio gets elect so he could force most of their businesses move to Cali. I am betting on bigotry. Go Arpaio!

    March 12, 2014 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  2. RayJacksonMs

    Maybe she'll finally have that much needed time to moisturize.

    March 12, 2014 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  3. JS Star

    Wonderful new for my state of Arizona!!!!! Now to hear the same thing from the so called, Sheriff Joe, and life here will be wonderful.

    March 12, 2014 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  4. xRedfoxx

    Good!! Maybe we'll get a real conservative in there that truly believes in the rights of small businesses, and supports religious freedom.

    March 12, 2014 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  5. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    ..Take your crooked, arthritic, pointy finger witcha!

    March 12, 2014 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  6. Howard

    Read a few posts and have to wonder if Arpaio becomes governor will Arizona become the destination of choice for pedophiles who feel they can safely rape Hispanic children?

    March 12, 2014 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  7. Thomas

    The only Governor with a pink 9mm.

    Don't Tread on Pink !

    March 12, 2014 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  8. Jo

    The curtain is torn – time for the old-bigot to retire.

    March 12, 2014 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  9. Jason Young Guy

    She can leave office knowing she did the right, humanitarian thing for all Arizona and the US society as a whole. I'm a non denominational Christian, and happy to server anyone in need of a service I would own. In my opinion.

    March 12, 2014 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  10. Teagaggers hate America

    Good riddance to another idiot conservatard. And take that racist Sheriff Mayberry Arpaio with her.

    March 12, 2014 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  11. ABQsage

    A brave woman with a strong sense of morality. Her courage to make the right choices in the face of massive criticism from the liberal media has been admirable. I hope that AZ has the courage to elect another principled leader.

    March 12, 2014 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  12. RJ

    AZ has had many Dem Governors in the past, including Nappy head.
    The state legislature pretty much runs the show.
    As for Sheriff Joe, he would never get elected. To much baggage.

    March 12, 2014 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  13. B. Thomas

    I think she knew she was going to retire when she vetoed 1062. It was the right thing to do but she knew she would be commiting political suiside in the process.

    March 12, 2014 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  14. SeattleReign

    Buh Bye.

    March 12, 2014 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  15. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    The Guns Over People tea potty extremists ran her out of the party.

    March 12, 2014 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  16. bluedogboy

    Sheriff Joe will be dead in a couple years. Take him off the list of potential losers to run that stupid state.

    Arizona is the end result when you take a bunch of old, white, racist, bitter, midwest transplants and drop them in the middle of the desert.

    March 12, 2014 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  17. Ram

    A woman from the stone age. She should go back on her time machine.

    March 12, 2014 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  18. Lor

    I live in Arizona (transplant) and am ashamed of this governor. I recently read some of her staff drafted the SB 1062 bill.
    While this is a beautiful state, the politics here are ridiculous!

    March 12, 2014 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  19. paul rogers

    it might become California. what an intelligent statement. ca has been on the forefront of almost everything innovative.
    I hope the crazy right wing moves on to another planet. maybe planet cheeny

    March 12, 2014 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  20. wjm980

    Oh those laughable libs. The election in Florida shows the libs are on the run, so about the only thing they can grasp onto is when Republicans decide not to run. Oh how I will love those midterm elections!!!!!

    March 12, 2014 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  21. mrcoffee

    This is great news.Now we get rid of Bachmann and Brewer in the same year...such pathetic public servants.

    March 12, 2014 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  22. Christopher Riess

    She leaves in disgrace. History will not be kind to her.

    March 12, 2014 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  23. RJ

    AZ has had several Dem Governors in a row prior to Brewer.
    Remember, she replaced Nappy.

    As for Sheriff Joe running, he would never make it out of the primaries.
    To much baggage.

    March 12, 2014 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  24. Kinard

    Here's a heads up. If you look for work, try to find something you are suited for. Haunting a house comes to mind.

    March 12, 2014 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  25. wheelz51

    Just please don't run for president. There's enough squirrels in the GOP!

    March 12, 2014 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
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