March 12th, 2014
02:13 PM ET
9 years 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."

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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.

Filed under: Arizona • Jan Brewer
soundoff (213 Responses)
  1. nc1965

    This country will be a better place with her gone.

    March 12, 2014 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  2. rs

    Bill, Bloomington Il

    Arizona should elect a dem and then you can be bankrupt also.
    The worst budget years for Arizona came at the hands of Republicans- where do you think they perfected "Cut-Taxes-and-Spend"? Arizona Governors have come up with some of the most creative ways to waste huge amounts of money- the propane powered cars bill under Republican Gov. Jane Hull that nearly wrecked the place because there was no cap in the program. Don't forget Fife Symington (R) who was tried for 21 federal counts of extortion, making false financial statements, and bank fraud. Then there was Evan Mecham (R) who killed the MLK Day holiday really setting the stage for AZ to look hyper-racist.
    Funny, the state did well under Babbitt, Mofford, Napalitano, Bolin and Castro.

    March 12, 2014 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  3. apstar

    Technically, she has served two terms so it's not a matter of what the law "intends," it is a matter of what the law "states". At least she has the brains to not fight what would be a losing legal battle after the SB 1070 fiasco. Arizona politics are an enormous embarrassment to some of us up north who would prefer to be annexed by Colorado or New Mexico. It will be a day for rejoicing when Brewer finally leaves office.

    March 12, 2014 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  4. stonedwhitetrash

    Arizona politics got to insane even for this off the wall lady.

    March 12, 2014 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  5. rs


    Good, one less liberal RINO working to destroy America.
    Brewer is one of the most irrationally Right-wing on the planet- you clearly don't have a clue.

    March 12, 2014 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  6. stonedwhitetrash

    Arizona politics became to far right even for this extreme right winger?

    March 12, 2014 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  7. NativeAZGirl

    As a homeowner and a taxpayer in AZ I am very happy that she wont run again, not that I would vote for her. I am disgusted by the way the small minoirty of nutjobs have managed to hijack our state senate and make all of us look bad. I love the fact that the majority of people who live here are socially * liberal * and fiscally conservative. This state is not full of nutjobs and whackos, but the ones we have are very noisy and someone needs to yank the stage from them, right now!!
    Please do not judge our state by the actions of a minority of religious wing nuts who have crept into the state from Utah and are very well connected and wealthy. They are NOT the voice of Arizona!!!!

    March 12, 2014 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  8. Danny

    Get her a job on Fox News so she can go around spouting ridiculous claims. Like every other nut-job Republican Governor.

    March 12, 2014 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  9. mark

    Oh darn, this country is losing the ugliest Governor EVER!!!!

    March 12, 2014 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  10. veep

    She's not even the crazy one in Arizona.

    March 12, 2014 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  11. fr114

    "There does come a time to pass the torch of leadership,"

    really, she calls her job as leadership. classic steaming pile of GOP

    March 12, 2014 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  12. rs

    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.
    Yeah, every state needs an 80 year-old racist dripping lawsuits as Governor- that will get the state jobs and economic stability-NOT!

    March 12, 2014 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  13. CGDoc

    Thank you Governor Brewer for your service to our State.
    Looking forward to the inauguration of our next Governor, Ken Bennett!

    March 12, 2014 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
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