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Jan Brewer May Actually Be Serious About Running for (Likely Unconstitutional) Third Term

Governor Jan Brewer
Governor Jan Brewer
Photo by Matthew Hendley

It appears that Governor Jan Brewer may be serious about seeking a third term, after reading that she said this for (at least) a third time, even though the Arizona Constitution says you only get two terms.

The Arizona Republic published its way-too-early list of gubernatorial candidates for the 2014 election, and of course, Brewer offered herself up for the list.

See also:
-Jan Brewer Again Threatens to Run for a Likely Unconstitutional Third Term
-Governor Jan Brewer's Pretty Sure She Can Run for Third Term -- All She Has to Do is Ignore Arizona Constitution

From the Republic:

Brewer has said there is "ambiguity" in the Constitution, saying she does not read it as barring her from serving 21/4 terms.
[...]
"I haven't ruled it out, and I've been encouraged by people -- legal scholars and other people -- that it's probably something that I ought to pursue," Brewer told The Arizona Republic.


The governor seems to think that since she took over for former Governor Janet Napolitano three years into a four-year term, it doesn't count against her -- which doesn't appear to be the case.

For the third time, here's exactly what the Arizona Constitution says about term limits, in Article 5, Section 1, which was amended as approved by the voters as Proposition 107 in 1992:

"No member of the executive department shall hold that office for more than two consecutive terms. This limitation on the number of terms of consecutive service shall apply to terms of office beginning on or after January 1, 1993. No member of the executive department after serving the maximum number of terms, which shall include any part of a term served, may serve in the same office until out of office for no less than one full term."


That whole "any part of a term served" part seems like it would take a dump on Brewer's parade, but apparently not.

Brewer's spokesman Matt Benson explained to us about a year-and-a-half ago that the Constitution defines a term as being four years, but later in the same section mentions parts of terms, which makes the whole thing "unclear."

We'll note here that the state's legislative council, when analyzing the '92 ballot proposition, said it's a maximum of two consecutive terms, "which is eight years."

If Brewer were to grab a third term, that would be nine years total. Thanks to the public school system in Cobb County, Georgia, I can personally tell you, with certainty, that nine is more than eight.

The governor's office has said tried to claim that the intent of the law was to prevent a governor from resigning with a week left in his or her term after being defeated by the standing secretary of state (the next in line to become governor) if they were of another party. That way, the new governor would be toast after one full term, plus a term of one week. Sounds like a likely scenario.

Or, or...or...the intent of the law was to prevent someone from being the governor for more than eight years, and if you don't get eight, then tough.



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