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.


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...


Current Governors
Gubernatorial Elections
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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.


Arizona elects governors in the midterm elections, that is, even years that are not Presidential election years. For Arizona, 2006, 2010, 2014, and 2018 are all gubernatorial election years. Legally, 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, the Arizona Constitution called for a simple majority to elect a governor and provided for a run-off between the two highest vote getters if no candidate reached 50% plus one in the general election. Proposition 100, passed in 1992, amended the Constitution to allow a plurality.

In the decidedly unlikely event that two candidate receive the exact same number of votes, a joint session of the legislature will cast ballots to choose one of the candidates.

Term limits

The Arizona Constitution limits governors to two consecutive terms. Former officeholders may run again after they have remained out of office for one full term.[1]


See also: How gubernatorial vacancies are filled

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

As Arizona is among the minority of 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 offices to ascend to the governorship, subject to the same criteria as the Secretary of State.

Any of those offices must resign in order to assume the governorship. 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, she cannot veto emergency measures or bills that were voted for by the people in a referendum.

The governor is a commander of the state's military forces and may call them into action, unless they have already been so called by the federal government, in which case they are under federal command.

She 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 the current situation of Arizona and suggesting policies and actions.

Other duties and privileges of the office 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


The gubernatorial salary is set in law, subject to the Constitutional limitations of article 6, section 33 and to the limitations of article 4, part 2, section 17. The legislature may name a commission, of five appointed members, at least two of whom must be private citizens, to consider changes to executive salaries.

As of 2010, the Governor of Arizona is paid $95,000 a year, the 44th highest gubernatorial salary in America.

Past officers

There have been 22 people who have served as governor, in 25 distinct terms. Arizona is one of only two states to have elected women of both parties to the governorship, is the only state where a woman has succeeded a woman as governor, and has had the most female governors in the country, with four.

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