As secretary of state of Arizona, Republican Jan Brewer became governor in January 2009 under the state’s laws of succession after the incumbent, Democrat Janet Napolitano, resigned to become the secretary of Homeland Security. Gov. Brewer has a good chance at retaining her seat despite Arizona’s budget deficit, due to her signing of popular gun and immigration legislation. Also popular is Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard, the son of a former Arizona governor. He had sought the Democratic nomination twice before securing it for this election.
Candidates for Arizona Governor (four-year term)
Candidate: Jan Brewer
Political experience: Brewer was a member of the Arizona House of Representatives from 1983 to 1987. She was then elected to the Arizona Senate in 1987 and served until 1996. In 1996 she became chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, an office she held until 2003 when she became secretary of state of Arizona. In 2009 she became governor.
Key issues: According to her website, Brewer is focused on creating and maintaining jobs for Arizona through tax cuts for businesses and the transformation of the Arizona Department of Commerce into the public/private blend Arizona Commerce Authority. She is also focused on educational reform with an emphasis on revamping student testing and teacher evaluations, with an eye on expanding the schools-of-choice concept that has been gaining ground in Arizona, specifically through the use of vouchers for private schools.
Endorsements: Brewer is endorsed by the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Arizona Police Association, Arizona Farm Bureau and the National Rifle Association, among others.
Chances of maintaining her seat: According to Rasmussen Reports, Brewer leads Goddard by a margin of 60 percent to 38 percent as of Sept. 7. Based on polling, Brewer’s lead is growing and she has a strong chance of retaining her seat.
Candidate: Terry Goddard
Political experience: Goddard was elected mayor of Phoenix in 1984 and served until 1990. He campaigned for the Democratic nomination for Arizona governor in 1990 and 1994. He served as Arizona’s state director for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development from 1995 to 2002, and has he been the attorney general of Arizona since 2003.
Professional experience: Goddard served an active tour in the U.S. Navy and spent 27 years in the U.S. Naval Reserves. He has been an attorney since 1976.
Key issues: According to his campaign website, Goddard is focused on creating jobs for Arizona by assisting new and expanding businesses with public infrastructure programs to help them to be successful. He proposes to strengthen the state’s bond with programs like Science Foundation Arizona, which targets potential research and development dollars for the state. He is also focused on educational reform, with the goal of seeing Arizona’s public schools ranked in the top 10 of all states in the nation within the next 10 years.
Endorsements: Goddard is endorsed by the Arizona Education Association, the Service Employees International Union and the United Food and Commercial Workers, among others.
Chances of unseating Jan Brewer: Although polls earlier this year showed Goddard with a lead over Brewer, in recent months the positions have reversed, with Goddard now trailing Brewer, according to Rasmussen Reports. It will be an uphill battle to win this race and unseat the incumbent.
Key Differences between Terry Goddard and Jan Brewer
Jobs: Goddard and Brewer take a vastly different approach to job creation. Brewer advocates both short-term and long-term tax cuts for businesses, while Goddard is against that approach, advocating shoring up public infrastructure that he believes would better aid new and expanding businesses instead.
Health care: Brewer is a staunch opponent of federal health care reform and has stated that she believes it to be unconstitutional and impossible for Arizona to fund. Goddard has openly criticized the governor for her stance on health care and would like to see Arizona participate in the State Children’s Health Insurance Program so they could receive a part of the federal funds.
Education: Goddard says he is a firm believer in a public school system and wants to see Arizona schools among the top 10 states on achievement in the next decade. He advocates expanded teacher accountability and post-secondary educational opportunities for every child in the state, as well as school-finance reform and charter school probationary assessment periods. Brewer wants stricter student and teacher assessment testing, and she promotes the idea of school choice through advocacy of vouchers for private schooling for students. Brewer would like to involve the business community in improving Arizona’s educational system and places a strong emphasis on English proficiency for all students.
Immigration: This is a huge issue in Arizona. Gov. Brewer has advocated putting the National Guard back on the border until it is sufficiently patrolled, and she wants completion and re-enforcement of the border fence, as well as the enforcement of existing immigration laws and reimbursement to the state for financial burdens caused by criminal illegal immigrants. Goddard advocates reforming immigration law, expanding work permits and requiring people who enter Arizona illegally to pay back taxes and learn English on the path to becoming citizens. He wants to continue to concentrate on cutting off the flow of funds to drug cartels and smugglers causing crime along Arizona’s borders.
2006 results: Democrat Janet Napolitano defeated Republican Len Munsil 62.6 percent to 35.4 percent.
Demographics: According to the U.S. Census, 58.8 percent of the state is white, 3.4 percent black, 29.6 percent Hispanic, 2.3 percent Asian, and 4.1 percent American Indian and Alaska Native.