March 12th, 2014
02:13 PM ET
7 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. Max

    Great... now maybe the state can get representation its citizens can be proud of.

    March 12, 2014 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  2. 2L

    Not a fan, but I do commend her for vetoing that ridiculous bill

    March 12, 2014 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  3. Silence DoGood

    @punished
    She veto'd the bill against gays. She would lose anyway. I would imagine she took a pounding from her base in the last week or so.
    ----------
    The Radical Religious Right would have marched with touches. They are not known for their reason or humor.

    March 12, 2014 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  4. d

    Damn! I'm scared this is a precursor to Presidential run! Until now she was contained within Arizona!! NOOOOOOo

    March 12, 2014 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  5. QS

    Best news of the day!

    March 12, 2014 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  6. Lynda/Minnesota

    She won't be running for re-election? Aww. How sad is that?

    March 12, 2014 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  7. what's next

    Watch Arizona elect Joe Arpaio and totally dismantle its tourism industry.

    March 12, 2014 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  8. JBledsoe

    I hope this means she'll run for president. Better than Hillary. MUCH better!

    March 12, 2014 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  9. Cactus Jack

    Only Joe Arpaio can save Arizona now. He is just the man to bring order and sanity back to this state. PLEASE run for Governor Joe!

    March 12, 2014 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  10. David Scott

    The gop are all THUGS.

    March 12, 2014 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  11. Minnesotan

    And after she leaves office, we'll hear the story of a house landing on her and lots of sad flying monkeys.

    March 12, 2014 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  12. keith

    What is shee 100 ????

    March 12, 2014 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  13. SV

    The racist Evan Mecham, the corrupt Fife Symington and the vile Jan Brewer. Arizona you have so much to be proud of.

    March 12, 2014 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  14. bluedogboy

    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!!!!!
    _____________________________________________________________________________________________

    That's fine. You can have an obscure right-leaning district in Florida. We'll take the big house on Pennsylvania Ave.

    March 12, 2014 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  15. Malory Archer

    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!!!!!

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Yeah, except:

    2008 – GOP won the seat by 20%
    2010 – GOP won the seat by 30%
    2012 – GOP won the seat by 15%
    2014 – GOP wins the seat by 2%

    It's surprising that professional lobbyist turned congressman did as poorly as he did when you factor in that the 2014 district isn't the same as it was during the '08, 10' & '12 elections. The district used to comprise the entire Pinellas County peninsula. However, in 2013 the district was gerrymandered to cut downtown St. Petersburg and southward completely, and toss that area in with District 14, comprised of part of Hillsborough County which includes downtown Tampa. South of downtown St. Pete is comprised of a great many of mittens' "47%", and went for President Obama in '08 & 12 so those guys were no longer in the mix as far as yesterday’s election result is concerned.
    Another factor to consider: of the 24 municipalities in Pinellas County, only 12 had other issues or candidates on the ballot, and the majority of those municipalities are wealthy beach communities that wouldn't vote "D" if their lives depended on it. St. Pete and eleven other municipalities had nothing else on the ballot and turnout was low for those parts of District 13.

    The professional lobbyist turned congressman should have by all accounts done much better than a 2% margin, and this is a district that has been in repub hands since the early 1970's, so you might want to dial back your victory dance a bit until after the November elections.

    March 12, 2014 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  16. linuxmax

    @Ally B
    Don't think so, only because Sara Palin will actually have to do some work as Governor of AZ.

    March 12, 2014 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  17. greasemonkey

    good riddance.....

    March 12, 2014 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  18. kelly

    probably a good idea.

    March 12, 2014 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  19. Willie Fistergash

    I know everything. I also like eating pie.

    AZ is nice, but some of the decision-making folks there are morons. Sheriff Joe is a poop-monger.

    Blorb!!!!!

    March 12, 2014 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  20. Julie Miller, MC, LPC, LISAC

    Let me just say THANK YOU JESUS.

    Let's see if we can move into the 21st century, Arizona.

    March 12, 2014 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  21. Steve

    Max, 2L, Silence DaGood, QS, d – you are all disgusting people. Shame on you. You all must be a bunch of partisan hacks. Just what we need less of in this country.

    March 12, 2014 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  22. KeyWester

    Oh good. Hope they have a better choice of candidates in the next election.

    March 12, 2014 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  23. SoldierOfConscience

    According to Brewer the s0domites can inflict their agenda on us, their freedom is sacred but ours isnt. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

    March 12, 2014 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  24. J

    Sammy750 – You mean like the democrats that saved, Detroit, Chicago or even the good ol USA. You are simply out of touch and dedicated to a party name and not any real meaningful agenda. You obviously do not speak from education, rather you speak from lack there of.

    March 12, 2014 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  25. mb2010a

    Good...now maybe they'll vote in a Democrat governor.

    March 12, 2014 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
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