AP: Brewer wins new term as Arizona governor
PHOENIX — Republican Jan Brewer easily defeated Democrat Terry Goddard to win a full term as Arizona’s governor Tuesday by avoiding potential fallout from the state’s deep budget troubles and riding a wave of support for the state’s controversial law on illegal immigration.
Brewer had nearly 56 percent of the vote and Goddard 41 percent with 26 percent of precincts reporting and hundreds of thousands of early ballots counted.
Brewer was elevated from secretary of state in January 2009 when Democrat Janet Napolitano resigned to become federal Homeland Security secretary.
Goddard ran twice unsuccessfully for governor in the 1990s. The former Phoenix mayor is finishing his second term as state attorney general.
Goddard was unopposed in the Aug. 24 primary election, while Brewer easily won her party’s nomination after being buoyed by her April signing of Arizona’s controversial law against illegal immigration, SB1070. Parts of the law have been put on hold by a federal judge pending the outcome of a legal challenge.
Critics denounced the law as promoting racial profiling, but Brewer denied that and said the state had to act because the federal government was not doing enough to stop illegal immigration.
And she was helped when voters on May 18 overwhelmingly approved a temporary sales tax increase she championed to help balance the state budget.
Brewer said Goddard was lax on illegal immigration because he said SB1070 was misguided.
She also said she’d made tough decisions on Arizona’s budget crisis, and she took advantage of every opportunity to trumpet economic development events bringing new jobs to the state.
Goddard said Brewer hadn’t done enough to fix the state’s budget troubles, and he said her administration went easy on private prisons like the one where three violent offenders escaped July 30.
Brewer, who confronted a growing budget crisis when she took office, still faces a grim fiscal picture, with sizable shortfalls projected for the current and next fiscal years.
The state has already laid off more than 2,000 state employees and reduced funding for services and programs across state government. Visible effects have been seen in slashed day care subsidies, cuts in health care for the poor and closed state parks and rest areas.
Brewer and Goddard debated only once, on Sept. 1. They had to because each accepted public campaign financing.
Brewer earlier said she wouldn’t give Goddard additional face-to-face exposure, but her performance in the one debate solidified her decision.
It began with Brewer pausing for about 15 seconds during her opening statement and concluded with her bolting from reporters asking her after the debate about her claim of headless bodies being found in the desert. She later retracted the claim.