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Strategist: Arizona governor race to be political theater

PHOENIX -- The 2014 race for the next governor of Arizona will be great political theater, a Valley political strategist said.

"This is front row seat stuff. I'm looking forward to it," said Mike O'Neil.

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer isn't ruling out a bid for what would essentially be a third term, because she believes her first two years do not count after Janet Napolitano left to become Secretary of Homeland Security.

Stan Barnes with Copperstate Consulting said he doesn't believe Brewer can run next year.

"I don't believe she can," he said. "Most attorneys don't believe she can but I wouldn't blame her for wanting to test that theory."

O'Neil said that, if Brewer drops her effort to run, an announcement will have to come sooner rather than later.

"I believe the GOP will tell the governor that, beyond a certain point, what it may do is inhibit the actions of other viable candidates," he said. "People like Mesa Mayor Scott Smith or Secretary of State Ken Bennett. She can play this for another six to eight months but, by the end of the year, I think the pressure on her will intensify."

Former Tempe Mayor Hugh Hallman, Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett, State Sen. Al Melvin have announced intentions to run on the GOP ticket. Others who are being mentioned as possible candidates are Republican Mesa Mayor Scott Smith, Republican State Treasurer Doug Ducey and Democratic House Leader Chad Campbell.

Fred DuVal was the first Democrat to officially announce a 2014 run.

About the Author

Position: Senior News Reporter. Started with KTAR July 4, 1999.

Favorite spots in Arizona: Pinetop-Lakeside, Alpine, Greer.

Have covered some of the biggest stories in Arizona including nine of the top 10 largest wildfires in state history. The Wallow Fire in 2011 became the largest fire in state history. Rodeo-Chediski Fire in June 2002, which is the second largest fire in Arizona. Covered the Yarnell Hill Tragedy in June 2013 that left 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots dead.

Favorite movies: True Grit, both 1969 John Wayne classic and the remake with Jeff Bridges and Lonesome Dove.

Sports Teams: Washington State University Cougars, Texas Longhorns, The University of Montana Grizzlies.


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