Governor's race heats up after Brewer announces she won't run

PHOENIX - Governor Jan Brewer squashed rumors Wednesday that she might challenge the two-term limit.

Now political experts say the race for governor could get heated.

More than a dozen candidates plan on running in the primaries. As of now, almost all of them are Republicans.

Political experts say some front runners could emerge quickly in the months ahead.

"There does come a time to pass the torch of leadership," said Brewer, announcing she won't seek to challenge state term limits with another run for governor at Park Meadows Elementary School.

"She's going to have the legacy of taking on the hard issues and doing what she felt was right. Sometimes, not very popular with her own base support," said Doug Cole, Brewer's former campaign spokesman.

No matter what you think of the governor's legacy, the focus is already shifting to what's next.

"A long list of Republicans and a very active primary and exactly the opposite on the other side," said political expert Mike O'Neil.

Major contenders for the executive seat on the Republican side include Secretary of State Ken Bennett, State Treasurer Doug Ducey, Scott Smith, the mayor of Mesa and Christine Jones, former counsel of GoDaddy.

And for the Democrats, Fred Duval who served in the White House for President Clinton.

"The Republican will be the beneficiary of having been contested in a long election, that garnered a lot of attention and publicity. And people may still be saying at that point, 'who is Fred Duval?'" O'Neil said.

O'Neil says the Democrats could also gain from this because a competitive race for the GOP could get nasty.

Or it could make the Republican front runner stronger.

"If somebody emerges as a clear front runner than probably everybody plays hands off, because nobody wants to get on the wrong side of the likely next governor," O'Neil said.

Candidates can file to run for office until May 28 so we could see a lot more of them throw their hat in the ring.

The big election is this November.

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