March 12th, 2014
02:13 PM ET
6 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. Dave

    I grew up in Arizona, but left after the 90s when it started to explode. They should've regulated the amount of growth due to limited resources, but they didn't. So glad I left before all these crazies transplanted there and took over. We grew up with Mexicans and it wasn't a big deal, then all these white conservative snobs from California and the east moved there and were scared of them. It was all down hill after that.

    March 12, 2014 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  2. I'm Ready for Arizona Governor Joe

    We need to start drafting this great man to run for Governor ASAP. The state of Arizona and the country need him badly.

    March 12, 2014 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  3. KC

    The irony is the president decision to appoint the Democratic governor opened up a spot for this lunatic. She repays him by blasting every move the president has made. Good riddance but I have little doubt AZ will find another one to replace her.

    March 12, 2014 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  4. Drano

    good riddance

    March 12, 2014 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  5. Jack M

    I've read about four different version of this story and none of them has indicated when exactly her term will end. Anybody?

    March 12, 2014 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  6. Melba Isom

    If we could only be so lucky in Tennessee for our corrupt governor to not run again!

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

    Gee, i wonder why..... Probably because they are retardicans........

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

    Say what you want about JB but she was a huge upgrade from Janet "Nappy" aka "Dead Behind The Eyes" Napallitano

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

    They must have changed Arizona law since the 1980s or '90s. Bruce Babbit served for 9.5 consecutive years. He succeeded a Governor who died in office and was elected to two full terms.

    March 12, 2014 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  10. Lao Tieu Phu

    No surprise. New GOP governor expected.

    March 12, 2014 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  11. Jamal

    Might as well just open the borders and let everybody in.... Free healthcare, free foodstamps, free education, free daycare, free everything. Yeaaaaaaaa!!!! It's ALL FREEEEE!! Just print up some funny money and let's PARTY.... HAPPY DAYS ARE HERE AGAIN !!! YEAAAAAAAAAAAAAA !!!!?

    March 12, 2014 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  12. Frink

    Why is the Muppet in the picture made of leather?

    March 12, 2014 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  13. mychaeltodd

    Thank GOD! the woman will be 70 Sept of this year and I think at 70 most people need to retire, enjoy all the money you worked hard for and (the backroom deals) enjoy your grand children, get a facelift-

    March 12, 2014 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  14. KellyinBoston

    Well, I can't say I agree with her politics or her moral compass. But not bad for a girl who never got a degree, eh? She's made a name for herself. She'll end up making a ton working for the state and for local businesses in trying to advance Arizona business investment and tourism.

    March 12, 2014 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  15. frankenfurter

    She's retiring to peruse her past time of looking like a saddle bag.

    March 12, 2014 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  16. Gurgyl

    These are the real Radicals–good riddance.

    March 12, 2014 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  17. BD70

    Got news for you Jan...your veto stamp is no good once you leave office. Buh bye!

    March 12, 2014 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  18. Margaret

    She could not run legally anyway, she is limited to 2 terms, this is just grandstanding.

    March 12, 2014 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  19. Larry

    I'm hoping she'll run for President. Then we'll see the true colors of the Democratic party. She's a conservative female with an impeccable reputation, but they'll do everything possible to make her look like the Wh0re of Babylon.

    March 12, 2014 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  20. Rudy NYC

    Whoa. Is today a bad picture day? Gov. Brewer needs one of those chocolate bars, too, so she can be herself again.

    March 12, 2014 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  21. Pete

    I use to take my Spring Break in Arizona, to enjoy the weather and sometimes drive up to Las Vegas.

    Now I don't care for the State of Arizona. New Mexico & Colorado are my new destinations. Goodbye Brewer, Goodbye Arizona.

    March 12, 2014 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  22. OH, AZ

    Oh man, who's next? Maybe AZ will elect Joe Arpaio.

    Remember when he and his cronies framed James Seville saying he tried to asassinate Arpaio with a pipe bomb when the bomb parts were actually purchased by Arpaio's own aides! The settlement cost AZ taxpayers over a million dollars – all for a publicity stunt that put an innocent man in jail for 4 years.

    And yet, AZ will still rally around this crook. Watch.

    March 12, 2014 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  23. Brian from DC

    Great! Hope the door doesn't slap her in the rear as she leaves!

    March 12, 2014 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  24. Bill

    How good of her to respect the laws of her own state. I don't get why these right-wingers really feel like they're above the law. Governors who respect laws typically don't need to 'announce' they won't run again once they meet their term limits.

    March 12, 2014 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  25. mitchyj

    Yet another misguided white conservative is out. Don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.

    March 12, 2014 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
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