March 12th, 2014
02:13 PM ET
8 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. mitchyj

    Frankenfurter. I love that.

    March 12, 2014 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  2. Jessica McGwin

    She is a responsible and reasonable women!! Thank You so much for your service, part of leadership is knowing when to pass the torch. That we all may have light for generations to come. The fire keepers.

    March 12, 2014 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  3. Al-NY,NY

    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.

    you mean the Gin Blossom nose publicity wh#re? If the people of Arizona are stupid enough to elect him, they deserve every bit of derision and laughter the rest of the country would heap on them

    March 12, 2014 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  4. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Lynda Minnesota
    Oh good, I caught you before going under again here at work today!
    Wanted to say "Thank You" my dear friend for coming to my defense.
    I found her warning/asking/advising you to let me fend for myself hilarious because this is exactly what Conservatives do in government, they close the ranks and Dems/libs/mods/indies fend for themselves. But God forbid we flip the script and stick together.
    Additionally I found that Fair pulled what she usually pulls when she wants to win an argument at all costs: she "mis-states or mis-speaks".
    She claimed that I did not want to debate her because of inavailability. When I never made any such claim. I reviewed the posts to make triple certain.
    This is exactly why I told her that she is NOT a debater. You cannot take information out of context and use that to create your argument.
    She excused calling out my profession/place of buisness (government bailed out I think she referred to it as) by inanely saying that it was ok because she was "challenged".
    The truth is that I did not challenge her, I CORRECTED her in her use of the phrase "bellwether example" and saying that '14 should be left up to conjecture.
    This is how she debates.
    This is why they mop the floor with her most everytime.
    Anywhoo my friend, happy trails to you, and thanks again!

    March 12, 2014 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  5. JohnSmith

    Oh happy days. This will make the whole country a better place.

    March 12, 2014 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  6. Progressive Communist Democrats Unite

    I hope the Democrats can recruit one of the liberal college communists to run for Governor. Our party needs somebody like this in Arizona.

    March 12, 2014 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  7. cecilia lewis

    thank God

    March 12, 2014 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  8. Malory Archer

    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?


    November. She won her seat in 2010, and a term is 4 years long.

    March 12, 2014 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  9. AZpoliticssuck

    Good riddance...

    March 12, 2014 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  10. Rudy NYC


    She's retiring to peruse her past time of looking like a saddle bag.
    They seem to have taken that horrible photo down and posted a video link. Looks like she ate Snickers.

    March 12, 2014 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  11. VJ

    thank god....

    March 12, 2014 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  12. Cactus Jack

    We have the toughest Sheriff in America, and hopefully soon the toughest Governor in America! Joe Arpaio is a guy who doesn;t back down, and doesn't take any lip from anyone. Joe Arpaio 2014!!

    March 12, 2014 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  13. tomasseffect

    Now that it's over (Brewer), Arizona has nothing to whine about during this next election. You get what you vote excuses. States rights.....

    March 12, 2014 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  14. Tea is bad for America

    Another racist bigot bites the dust. Hopefully Sheriff Jose will choke and fall over from his own hateful bile.

    March 12, 2014 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  15. Andrew

    Ding, Dong, the witch is gone who's the witch the wicked WITCH Jan Brewer GFY lady!

    March 12, 2014 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  16. rs

    There was never a question that Brewer couldn't run- she was term-limited so without a court battle (and Arizona has had way too many of those), she's done. Now the Arizona GOP clown car is filling up- 80 year old Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Steven Segal seem positioned for a run- Oy!

    March 12, 2014 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  17. BobD

    Good Riddance... Anyone who disrespects our President the way she did should NOT be governor of a State, ANY State, even one as Whacko as AZ!

    March 12, 2014 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  18. gramiam

    Buh-bye, Jan. None of the brown folks, the straight but not narrow libruls(me) or anybody else will miss you.

    March 12, 2014 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  19. Dave

    She figures she has done enough damage so time to move on. Her rumoured replacement you ask? Sheriff Joe!! LOL

    March 12, 2014 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  20. YUCK

    she might get replace by a wicker person than be aware.

    March 12, 2014 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  21. Robert N. constant

    Perhaps with this loonie gone Arizona can continue to move forward. Her anti Mexican, anti education, anti environmentalist positions have hurt the state.

    March 12, 2014 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  22. z8k8

    Dave is right on "I grew up in Arizona, but left after the 90s when it started to explode" but the great growth was in Maricopa mostly, which 3X+.
    The sad part is,it brought all the angry,failed, miserable and crazy people from west(CA, OR, WA) and mid-west (ILL,WIS, etc..) and East (MA,NH) to AZ. Their failures were blamed on "liberals and liberal gvmt policies"; and instead of retiring in CA or Mass. they came to "cheap" AZ.
    Joe Arpaio and Jan Brewer and people in Maricopa that overwhelming voted for them are great example of what "angry, destructive people" AZ has become full off.
    They have taken over control from the "privileged" families that ran the state before mid 90s.
    The "privileged" families (like Goldwater, Babitt) held power and were corrupt, but they at least cared for AZ.
    Now we are governed by crazies. Arpaio, Pierce, Brewer, Segal, Huppenthal, Horne, Bennet, Franks . These "patriots" are the worse abusers of their powers.....
    But they get reelected. Thank You Maricopa!

    AZ is 80+% Federal land, so that there is not too much land left to bring in these crazies, but the influx of "angry retirees" that could not afford living in liberal states (CA, MA, OR, etc..) continues. One dies another comes...
    The tax revenues of 90s-2000s were based on real-estate, that's gone, and tax increases are impossible wo public vote, with exception of sale and property taxes. With increase of both(since there is no other choice) , some of the flux may decrease. The AZ legislation is also happy to give tax breaks to companies and "poor" non-profit organizations like NHL, NFL, that will only increase the two taxes further.
    Thank you Maricopa for making AZ expensive to live in for normal people and cheap for corporations!

    March 12, 2014 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  23. nc1965

    The Republicans have failed at every attempt to stop Obama and his agendas.

    Obama reelected

    Obamcare made law – Republicans failed to kill it.

    Unemployment down

    Economy did not collapse – at the chagrin of the Tea Party

    gay marriage upheld

    Texas and NC getting sewed by the Feds for voter suppression laws

    Minimum wage raised for Federal workers and soon to all workers

    Executive order to fill vacant judge positions

    Executive orders to keep the Government running.

    The Republicans' chances of elected a President stopped.

    Equal pay for women – Ledbetter act.

    Expanding overtime pay.

    March 12, 2014 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  24. Fedexman

    1. This just proves there is a God.

    2. People need to remember when voting, who drafted what bill and voted for which moronic laws and vote them out.

    Brewer is the second worst thing that happened to Arizona (Joe being the 1st) Now I don't follow any party or crazy Martin independents. I try to find the facts and vote with an informed decision, voters of Arizona please do the same.

    Ask your self before voting will this person try the best they can to do whats best for my state, city and family or are they jst trying to boost thier own resume or fatten their own pockets. take your time when it comes to voting , read up investigate people and their political means.

    As I mentioned before Brewer was terrible and made Arizona a joke please people dont make the same mistake again.

    March 12, 2014 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  25. JG

    Gov Brewer: "This place is overflowin' with burrito eaters and now we have to treat gays equally too? I'm outta here!"

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