Former Governor Doesn’t Help Trump

By John Celock

A new poll shows that former Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) would not help presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump in her home state if she became his running mate.

A Public Policy Poll released Tuesday shows that Brewer’s presence on Trump’s ticket would make a race against Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton more competitive in Arizona. The poll showed Trump narrowly leading Clinton in the state 40 percent to 38 percent with former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, the likely Libertarian Party nominee, at six percent, and Green Party nominee Jill Stein at two percent. In a head to head contest with Clinton, Trump leads the former secretary of state 45 percent to 41 percent.

The poll tested Trump’s chances against Clinton with Brewer as his running mate and showed that he would be tied at 43 percent with the Democrat. The poll indicated that Brewer, who left office last year after six years, had a 36 percent favorability rating in the state and a 45 percent unfavorable rating. Brewer has been mentioned as a potential Trump running mate.

Brewer left the governor’s office in 2015 following a turbulent six-year tenure as Arizona’s chief executive. Brewer, the state’s secretary of state, succeeded to the office in January 2009 after then Gov. Janet Napolitano (D) stepped down to join President Obama’s cabinet. Brewer quickly angered conservatives in the state by proposing a tax hike to plug a budget hole after initially saying she wanted to keep taxes low. Several other of Brewer’s budget fixes – including the sale/lease back of the state capitol and other state properties, including hospitals and maximum security prisons – generated opposition from Democrats, including when she proposed buying back the capitol in 2012.

Brewer was locked in a competitive 2010 Republican gubernatorial primary with then state Treasurer Dean Martin when she signed Arizona’s immigration law. Martin later withdrew from the race before the primary after Brewer’s surge in the polls. Brewer easily defeated the Democratic nominee, Attorney General Terry Goddard, 54 percent to 42 percent in the general election.

During her second term, Brewer continued to make headlines with her confrontation with Obama on the tarmac at Phoenix Airport in 2012. Brewer’s second term was also marked by her 2011 attempt to fire the chairwoman of the state’s independent redistricting commission after preliminary maps would have made several of the state’s congressional districts more competitive, including one held by then U.S. Rep. Ben Quayle (R). Brewer had said the decision was based on concerns she had with the process used by the commission. The state Supreme Court ruled that Brewer overstepped her authority in removing the commission chairwoman. Quayle’s staff denied that his mother, former U.S. Second Lady Marilyn Quayle, contacted Brewer about the map.

Brewer’s second term was also marked by her vetoing of several pro-Second Amendment bills in the wake of the 2011 assassination attempt of then U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D) in Tucson. In 2014, Brewer successfully pushed Medicaid expansion through the GOP-controlled state Legislature, a move that angered her past conservative allies and led her to form new alliances with Democrats who normally opposed her.

Brewer was prohibited from seeking reelection in 2014 under the state constitution that limited governors to no more than eight consecutive years in office. Brewer has been a staple of Arizona politics since the 1980s, when she was elected to the state House of Representatives in 1982. Elected to the state Senate in 1986, Brewer would serve a decade in the chamber rising to the post of majority whip. Brewer was elected to the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors in 1996, serving for six years including two as board chairwoman. She was elected secretary of state in 2002 and 2006 before becoming governor. Brewer was Arizona’s fourth female governor and third consecutive female governor.