Legal challenge awaits Brewer election decision
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer is apparently considering running to serve a third term — or a second term, depending on how you interpret her service in office.
The number is important because the state constitution limits the governor to two terms.
Brewer and her legal advisers believe it would actually be her second term if she chooses to run again in 2014. The reason is that she was not elected to her first two years in office because as then Arizona secretary of state, she automatically moved up to become governor when Janet Napolitano left that office to become U.S. secretary of Homeland Security.
She successfully was elected to the office after filling out the rest of Napolitano's term. She doesn't feel those first two years count as an official term.
It is an interesting interpretation — one which Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett said Monday is wrong. Of course, his view may not be entirely impartial, given that he reportedly wants to run for governor in 2014.
We think the governor's view does have merit, at least on the basis of fairness. After all, why should she be shortchanged two years of office simply because she did her duty and filled in for Napolitano? If that had not happened, she possibly could have served a full eight years on her own.
But fairness isn't necessarily the same as legality, and that would be up to the courts to decide if she indeed does choose to ask the voters for another term in 2014.
If she takes that path, our hope is that she will do so enough in advance of the election to ensure that the inevitable legal wranglings do not confuse and disrupt the election process.