Jan Brewer announced on Wednesday that she would not be seeking a third term as the governor of Arizona. Brewer stated in her announcement that there comes a time when the torch of leadership needs to be passed on, and for her, the completion of her second term feels like that time. Despite stepping away from the governorship after her term is complete, she still plans on working to help elect Republicans who are practical rather than those that focus on ideology.
Brewer first became the governor back in 2009, after Janet Napolitano became the Secretary of Homeland Security under President Obama. She served one year, then won a full four year term in 2010. While Gov. Brewer was considering another run, a law in Arizona states that a governor cannot run for more than two consecutive terms, although an apparent loophole in the legislation could have made it legal for her to seek reelection. Despite the loophole, she decided to play by the rules and step aside.
Many are speculating about why Jan Brewer has decided not to seek a third term as the governor of Arizona, as she has been no stranger to controversy during her time in office. Brewer has found herself at the center of two different hot-button issues, with the eyes of the entire nation fixated on her and the state of Arizona. The first issue centered around her decision to sign a bill into law that required immigrants to carry their registration papers with them at all times. The legislation also gave law enforcement the right to question a person if they had reason to believe that individual might be in the US illegally.
The move caused a firestorm of criticism and protest by those who disagreed with the law, and it eventually went to the Supreme Court. Many provisions in the law were struck down, but one of the most controversial sections, the one enabling police questioning, was kept in. The whole fiasco helped Brewer to become an admired political figure by conservatives, since many saw the action as a tough response to America’s immigration problems.
Gov. Brewer recently found herself in the hot seat for a second time, when a bill came across her desk that would have essentially enabled businesses to deny services to homosexuals, as they claimed this violated their religious beliefs. The bill was passed by the Arizona legislature, but Brewer decided to use her veto powers. Her decision was met with approval by many, but a large number of conservatives, and those on the “religious Right” felt the decision to veto was a knock against their religious liberties.
Some in the political sphere are saying that this decision to veto the bill is part of why Brewer may not be seeking reelection. Certain groups or individuals who are on the religious right may have applied some pressure that encouraged her decision not to run. It could also be a clever political move, or an attempt to give herself a better position of influence with individuals on both sides of the aisle. A drop in public opinion may have signaled to Jan Brewer that not seeking a third term as Arizona governor was the best way to save face with the right, while boosting her image in the eyes of Democrats on the left.
By Michael Cantrell