Gov. Jan Brewer, who developed an international reputation for her vociferous attacks on illegal immigration, is ending her career as an elected politician at the end of the year.
But she’s not retiring from politics.
Brewer made the formal announcement this morning at Park Meadows Elementary School in North Phoenix. She chose the site because it is where two of her children went and, as a parent, she first got interested in politics and considered running for school board.
But Brewer instead took advantage of an offer by her husband, John, to finance a 1982 campaign for the Arizona House. And almost 26 years later from the date she became a legislator, Brewer slid into the office of governor — a post she said she never ever thought to seek — when incumbent Janet Napolitano quit to become Homeland Security secretary in the Obama administration.
The governor took no questions after the long-anticipated announcement, ending months of speculation she would wage a bid for a legally questionable third term.
But in a wide-ranging exclusive interview with Capitol Media Services on politics, her tenure and her future, Brewer insisted she could run again if she wanted, despite a voter-approved constitutional amendment limiting elected officials to no more than two terms or any portion thereof.
Brewer contends the first two years she served did not count because she was completing Napolitano’s term. Brewer said Napolitano’s resignation automatically made her governor in 2009 with or without her consent, meaning it was not “her” term.
“But there’s a time to be, and a time to go,” she said in opting not to push the issue. “It’s the right time for me to move on.”
Her decision avoids having the question decided by the Arizona Supreme Court, which has never looked at the issue. It also means staying out of what already is a crowded Republican primary with nine announced GOP contenders, including two statewide elected officials who hope to jump to the top spot.