WASHINGTON – Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, known for her hard-line stance on illegal immigration and a stand-up row with President Barack Obama, said Wednesday she will not seek re-election this year.
The 69-year-old Republican, governor of the state bordering Mexico, said she will remain politically active after stepping down in the upcoming November poll.
“There’s a time to be, and a time to go,” Brewer told Capitol Media Services after announcing her decision. “It’s the right time for me to move on.”
Brewer, who became governor after her predecessor, Janet Napolitano, was tapped as secretary of Homeland Security in January 2009, was elected for a full term the following year.
She had said Arizona’s two-term poll limit would not stop her from running again, as her first two years were not formally her term.
But others contested that view, which would likely have been decided in court had Brewer run again.
Brewer is well known for her fierce antipathy to Obama over a controversial Arizona law passed in 2010 that was opposed by the president.
The legislation, signed by Brewer, created some of the nation’s toughest measures on illegal immigration, but the U.S. Supreme Court declared most of them unconstitutional.
In January 2012, she surprised onlookers when, at an airport ceremony to welcome Obama to Phoenix, she pointed her finger at the president in what appeared to be a toe-to-toe row on the tarmac.
Afterward, White House officials explained that Obama had taken exception to Brewer’s description of an Oval Office meeting the pair had, in a book she wrote. “He was a little disturbed about my book,” Brewer said.
In August that year, Brewer mistakenly endorsed Obama in a live television interview.
She also infamously became lost for words during a televised debate in the run-up to 2010 midterm elections, remaining silent for an embarrassing 10 seconds before getting back on track. Afterward she admitted she had had a “brain freeze.”