Governor of Arizona

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The Governor of Arizona is an elected Constitutional officer, the head of the Executive branch, and the highest state office in Arizona. The Governor is popularly elected every four years by a plurality and is limited to two consecutive terms. The same individual may not be elected governor again until one complete gubernatorial term has passed.

Current officer

The 22nd and current governor of Arizona is Jan Brewer, a Republican. She was the elected Secretary of State in 2009, when Democratic Governor Janet Napolitiano resigned to join the Obama cabinet. Brewer served the remainder of Napolitano's term and ran for the governorship in 2010. She won the midterms and took office in January of 2011.

Before becoming governor, Brewer served as Arizona Secretary of State from 2003 to 2009. She was a member of the Arizona State Senate from 1986 to 1996; during her tenure, she served as majority whip from 1992 to 1996. Prior to her election to the Senate, Brewer served in the Arizona House of Representatives from 1982 to 1986. She began her political career as a member of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors. Brewer and her husband, John, raised three children, one of whom died of cancer in 2007.[1]


The Constitution of Arizona establishes the office of the governor in Article V, the Executive.

Arizona Constitution, Article V, Section 1:

The executive department shall consist of the governor, secretary of state, state treasurer, attorney general, and superintendent of public instruction...


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Under Article V, Section 2, the governor must be at least 25 years old, a qualified voter in Arizona, and have been both an American citizen for ten years and a resident of Arizona for a minimum of five years on election day.

Arizona Constitution, Article V, Section 2:

No person shall be eligible to any of the offices mentioned in section 1 of this article except a person of the age of not less than twenty-five years, who shall have been for ten years next preceding his election a citizen of the United States, and for five years next preceding his election a citizen of Arizona.


See also: Gubernatorial election cycles by state
See also: Election of governors

Per Article 5, Section 1 (Version 2) of the state constitution, Arizona elects governors during federal midterm election years (e.g. 2006, 2010, 2014). The gubernatorial inauguration is always set for the first Monday in January following the election. Thus, January 3, 2011 and January 5, 2015 are inaugural days.

Originally, Article 5, Section 1 of the Arizona Constitution called for the legislature to decide the election in the case of a tie vote. The procedure was changed with the passage of Proposition 107 in 1992, which calls for a second election following a tie. If no candidate receives a plurality of the votes in the second election, the state legislature chooses between the two candidates.

Arizona Constitution, Article 5, Section 1 (Version 2)

A. The executive department shall consist of the governor, secretary of state, state treasurer, attorney general, and superintendent of public instruction, each of whom shall hold office for a term of four years beginning on the first Monday of January, 1971 next after the regular general election in 1970.

B. The person having a majority of the votes cast for the office voted for shall be elected. If no person receives a majority of the votes cast for the office, a second election shall be held as prescribed by law between the persons receiving the highest and second highest number of votes cast for the office. The person receiving the highest number of votes at the second election for the office is elected, but if the two persons have an equal number of votes for the office, the two houses of the legislature at its next regular session shall elect forthwith, by joint ballot, one of such persons for said office.

Term limits

See also: States with gubernatorial term limits

Arizona governors are restricted to two consecutive terms in office, after which they must wait one term before being eligible to run again.

Arizona Constitution, Article 5 Section 1 Version 2

No member of the executive department shall hold that office for more than two consecutive terms. This limitation on the number of terms of consecutive service shall apply to terms of office beginning on or after January 1, 1993. No member of the executive department after serving the maximum number of terms, which shall include any part of a term served, may serve in the same office until out of office for no less than one full term.


See also: How gubernatorial vacancies are filled

Details of vacancy appointments are addressed under Article 5, Section 6 of the state constitution.

As Arizona is one of the five U.S. states with no lieutenant governor, the vacancy rules for the governor's office are somewhat more complex than other states. In the event that the governor is unable to discharge the office for any reason, the Arizona Secretary of State succeeds if two conditions are met; the Secretary of State must be serving as an elected officer and must meet the requirements to hold the governorship.

If either of those criteria does not hold, then the Attorney General of Arizona, the Treasurer of Arizona, and the State Superintendent of Public Instruction are, in descending order, the next in line to succeed the governor, subject to the same criteria as the Secretary of State.

Legally, taking the governor's oath of office is treated as an official resignation from the previous office held. Whenever the Secretary of State or any other officer becomes the Governor, she has the full powers and emoluments of the office and serves until the next election.

The same line of succession holds when disability or absence means the governor is temporarily unable to discharge the office.



The governor has a line-item veto on money appropriations, but otherwise the veto power and procedure is the same as for the president of the United States. However, he cannot veto emergency measures or bills that were voted for by the people in a referendum.

The governor is the commander of the state's National Guard except when it is placed under federal control.

He may call the legislature into extraordinary session and must appear before the legislature at least once during each session to deliver a "State of the State" address, commenting on Arizona's political and economic situation and laying out his policies for the coming year.

Other duties and privileges of the office, a number of which are enumerated in Article 5, Section 4 of the state constitution include:

  • ensuring all laws of Arizona are faithfully upheld
  • transacting all state business within the executive branch, including ordering reports and information from other executive officers
  • granting reprieves, commutation, and pardons, after convictions, for all offenses except treason and cases of impeachment
  • approving, or vetoing, all bills passed by the legislature
  • appointing someone to fill vacancies in all state offices where a manner for filling a vacancy is not already provided for by law
  • issuing, signing, and sealing all commissions granted by the state and delivering them to Secretary of State, who will attest to them


In 2010, the governor received compensation in the amount of $95,000[2], the 44th highest gubernatorial salary in America. Per Article 6, Section 33 of the state constitution, the legislature may name a commission, of five appointed members, at least two of whom must be private citizens, to consider changes to the governor's salary.

Contact information

Governor of Arizona
1700 West Washington
Phoenix, Arizona 85007

Telephone: (602) 542-4331
Toll Free: 1-(800) 253-0883
Fax: (602) 542-1381

See also

External links