Getting Familiar with Article 5, Section 6

I had lunch with another political PR/Guru the other day and the discussion came up over Napolitano heading to Washington DC to serve in an Obama Administration cabinet position – most likely Attorney General.

That would mean Secretary of State Jan Brewer would get a promotion to Governor but who would replace Secretary of State Jan Brewer?

Here is what the Arizona Constitution states under Article 5, Section 6:

6. Death, resignation, removal or disability of governor; succession to office; impeachment, absence from state or temporary disability

Section 6. In the event of the death of the governor, or his resignation, removal from office, or permanent disability to discharge the duties of the office, the secretary of state, if holding by election, shall succeed to the office of governor until his successor shall be elected and shall qualify. If the secretary of state be holding otherwise than by election, or shall fail to qualify as governor, the attorney general, the state treasurer, or the superintendent of public instruction, if holding by election, shall, in the order named, succeed to the office of governor. The taking of the oath of office as governor by any person specified in this section shall constitute resignation from the office by virtue of the holding of which he qualifies as governor. Any successor to the office shall become governor in fact and entitled to all of the emoluments, powers and duties of governor upon taking the oath of office.

In the event of the impeachment of the governor, his absence from the state, or other temporary disability to discharge the duties of the office, the powers and duties of the office of governor shall devolve upon the same person as in case of vacancy, but only until the disability ceases.

It appears that a Governor Brewer would then have the power to appoint her replacement to Secretary of State. However, Article 5, Section 8 states:

8. Vacancies in office

Section 8. When any office shall, from any cause, become vacant, and no mode shall be provided by the Constitution or by law for filling such vacancy, the governor shall have the power to fill such vacancy by appointment.

If this section applies to the Governor’s appointment to Secretary of State, it makes no mention of political party so the Governor is not bound to a partisan provision.

I’d like to hear what any Arizona Constitutional experts or election attorneys have to say about the succession of power in the Executive branch under Arizona Constitutional law.


  1. The Arizona Constitution may not specify that the person filling a vacant office be of the same political party as the person elected, but I believe Arizona Revised Status does, as is the case with vacancies in the legislature.

    LD 6

  2. It looks like Framer’s back at

  3. Wouldn’t this situation be similar to Castro, Meachem and Symington leaving office? What would be different?

  4. Wooden Teeth says

    You don’t need a con law scholar or lawyer. Anyone can read the statute and understand it. Brewer appoints the SOS when she becomes governor. Most recently, Jane Hull did this when Symington resigned in 1997. Hull appointed Betsey Bayless who I think was on the county board of supervisors at the time. Bayless, of course, then went on to run for “re” election as SOS in 1998 and then to run in the GOP primary in 2002.

    The real unknown is who Brewer would appoint to her old SOS job. Would have to be someone who would not run against her in 2010.

    Which is why I’m not sure why Jack Harper announced his committee for SOS, he’d be running against an incumbent appointed by an incumbent governor also running for reelection.

  5. My guess for SOS appointment, Helen Purcell. She understands elections and has no desire for the 9th floor.

    She could run for SOS and beat Harper, no problem. Put the two of them in a forum where election law, procedures, and department management are discussed and it would be all over.

    Helen is more than competent, well liked and respected. Harper is….Harper.

  6. GOP Boomer Gal says

    Yes … Helen Purcell is a great choice.

  7. Helen Purcell cannot handle that much office. She can barely get by her Recorder’s job and relies almost entirely on Karen Osborne. Purcell would not be a good choice. That office requires a much more savvy personality. Jack Harper is gunning for the position and would make a good fit given he has challenged Purcell in the past over the screw-up with County elections.

  8. Why won’t you folks let Jan Brewer worry about this.
    She has the dignity, the grace, the know how and the guts to do the right thing.
    And furthermore, if she felt she needed YOUR advise, she will call you. Trust me.

  9. Wooden Teeth says

    The SOS is a heartbeat away from being the Gov, and most people would prefer someone there who ran for an elective office that was more significant that county recorder, so no Helen. Start by making a list of termed-out legislators, Phoenix and Tucson city council members, and county supervisors. Toss in some already retired legislators. There will already be a lot of Napolitano appointees to replace, plenty of plum jobs to go around.

  10. Precinct Committeeman says

    Wait, while I get some clothes on. Then I can address Horst’s comment.


    Horst, we can comment because we have freedom of speech. The real question would be concerning how much of your public support can the Secretary stand.

    While support of a conservative like Jack Harper makes Horst uncomfortable, there are a lot of us who think he’s a good guy, not perfect, but growing every year. He can do he job.

  11. Kraus, I don’t think anyone here thinks that political decisions are being made based on the comments left on this blog.


    This isn’t a telephone. You don’t have to ask us to wait so that you can put your clothes on. You can just start the comment after you have put your pants on, and then nobody has to think about it.

    New question:

    Why do conservatives (not on this site specifically) profess such discomfort with the executive and legislative branches coming under control of the Democratic party at the national level, yet encourage the idea of a Republican governor and strongly Republican state legislature here in Arizona?

    I’ve been hearing a lot of this lately…

  12. Precinct Committeeman says

    Tucson Vice –

    The pants comment was a joke. Horst owns and operates the local nudist colony in Maricopa County.

  13. Precinct Committeeman,
    Jokes will help keeping your thinking young and maintaining a steady pre-puberty mentality is a good start.
    You are not a not a Precinct Committee Man in my District?
    Say it ain’t so, quickly please.

  14. So … let’s look those who have thrown their name out there for 2010 state office.

    Feel free to add to the list.

    Governor: Joe Arpaio, Jan Brewer, Tom Horne, Dean Martin, Len Munsil, John Munger, Mary Peters
    Secretary of State: Laura Knaperek, Jack Harper, Jim Weiers, Bill Konopnicki
    Superintendent of Public Instruction: John Huppenthal, Mark Anderson, Linda Gray
    Attorney General: Eddie Farnsworth, Hugh Hallman, Andrew Pacheco, Andrew Thomas
    Treasurer: Dean Martin, Bob Burns

    Governor: Terry Goddard, Phil Gordon
    Secretary of State: Ken Chevrount,
    Superintendent of Public Instruction: Linda Lopez, Slade Meade
    Attorney General: Tim Nelson

  15. GOP Mom, Esq. says

    Here’s a scenario:
    It would be incredibly short-sighted and simple-minded – a significant strategic error – for the DNC to ‘give up’ any gains made in AZ to the Rs by letting Brewer easily ascend into the Executive. Brewer would then have leverage to appoint key posts.

    Chuck Coughlin is pushing Mary Peters, US DOT, for Governor. Coughlin also represents Brewer, but has told Brewer she can’t ‘win’ in 2010. Although Brewer is well-liked, this state needs someone with ‘fresh’ ideas and more than a high school degree.

    If Napolitano takes a federal appointment – such as Amb to Mexico – along with an appointment for McCain to Defense Dept., Napolitano has to appoint an R to McCain’s seat. She appoints Brewer. Because she knows she can beat Brewer in 2010, which is not far away. With no SOS to take the spot, it goes to the next in line of succession – the AG. Terry Goddard. Goddard then appoints the SOS and the AG.


  16. Good speculation GOP Mom!

    This is all going to be a matter of timing. If McCain gets an appointment before Napolitano leaves, then it works out. If Napolitano leaves first then the game of chicken falls apart. McCain appears to hold the upper hand.

  17. I would add

    R – Gov – JD Hayworth

    D – AG – Krysten Sinema

  18. Also

    R – If Martin doesn’t run for State Treasurer –

    Greg Patterson

  19. I read your blog for a long time and must tell you that your articles always prove to be of a high value and quality for readers.

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