PHOENIX -- Gov. Jan Brewer is back in the spotlight, MSNBC has named her one of the five most powerful women in American politics along with Michelle Bachman, Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi and Michelle Obama.
But, back here at home the question is whether the govenor is powerful enough to seek a third term.
Brewer has put the issue forward, almost from the time she first took over office from Janet Napolitano, even though Valley attorney and campaign law specialist Andy Gordon says don’t look for it ever to happen.
“This is political theater ... I don't blame her for tossing this out there, anything that can cause some confusion to give her a little heft to where she is, is fine, but it is not a serious legal issue,” he said.
But former Brewer attorney Joe Kanefield says the key may be the fact that she did take over from Naplitano, who resigned to become Secretary of Homeland Security.
“It would be an absurdity to penalize that person by virtue of having inherited the office through the Constitution to say that they can't be elected to two full terms by the people,” Kanefield said.
In regard to term limits the state Constitution reads: “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.”
On Politics Unplugged Sunday, Kanefield and Gordon debated just what full term might mean.
“I think it is fair to say when the voters put that provision into the Constitution in 1992 they were talking about an elected term,” argues Kanefield.
But Gordon counters, “But the constitutional provision here, which you quoted, talks about a partial term and that is there for this exact reason.”
Whether Brewer will ultimately decide, whether that question needs to be answered is anybody's guess, but for now she certainly has the power to keep everyone guessing.
And Kanefield says that is her prerogative, “Governor Brewer has never said whether she is going to run or not for a third term all she has said is the question of whether she can is an open question.“
But Gordon says the question is not open at all, it’s just a power play.
“She has got no chance to run again, she wants to keep her power, she wants something more than the bully pulpit and more than the veto power,” Gordon said.