The state's chief election official said Monday morning that as far as he's concerned, Jan Brewer's reign as governor ends in January 2015, no matter what she and her legal help say.
Brewer became governor in 2009 after Janet Napolitano quit. But Brewer has been saying that advice from former legal counsel Joe Kanefield convinces her that the last two years of Napolitano's term do not count toward HER constitutional limit of two terms in office. So Brewer, who was elected in her own right at the 2010 election, says she COULD run in 2014 if she wants, something she has not decided yet. Ken Bennett, who was named Secretary of State when Brewer became governor, said he has not studied Kanefield's arguments.
"But we read the constitution on its face that any portion of a term counts as a full term, and both of us will therefore have served two terms by the time the 2014 election occurs," the Secretary of State said.
Bennett's interest in the issue is more than academic: He already has formed an exploratory committee for governor for 2014. But Bennett sidestepped a question of whether he would move to keep her off the ballot should she seek the nomination.
"I'm not going to comment on speculative questions about what she might or might not do. I'm focused on being the secretary of state," Bennett said.
Bennett's comments came at the formal certification of election results -- an event that normally would include the governor. But Brewer notified Bennett she would instead be out of state, with her office providing no specifics.