Posted at 05:36 PM ET, 02/25/2012

Jan Brewer says she’ll endorse ahead of Arizona primary

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) said Saturday that she plans to endorse a GOP presidential candidate ahead of Tuesday’s primary in the Grand Canyon State.


Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R). (Jack Kurtz — Associated Press)
Speaking with reporters at the National Governors Association winter meeting in downtown Washington, Brewer said that she’s going to support “whomever I decide that can beat the current administration.”

Which candidate might that be?

“Oh, aren’t you swift!” she responded, laughing. “You know, I’m going to make that announcement maybe tomorrow.”

The endorsement by Brewer could come in a scheduled “Meet the Press” appearance Sunday morning, although later in her conversation with reporters on Saturday afternoon, Brewer clarified that she’s still “pondering” and that the timing of her move remains uncertain.

“If everything goes well,” she said of a possible Sunday endorsement. “If I’ve got all my answers.”

Brewer had met separately with all four GOP presidential contenders ahead of Wednesday’s presidential debate in Mesa, Ariz. She has said she planned to endorse before Tuesday’s contest but had said after the debate that she believed all the candidates had performed well.

An endorsement by Brewer could give a boost to a candidate in the race; while Brewer is a polarizing figure nationally, among Arizona Republicans she has a 75 percent approval rating, according to a survey released this week by Democratic-leaning pollster Public Policy Polling.

Polls show former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney (R) in a tight race against former senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) in Arizona.

Asked whether she might be making her endorsement too late in the race given that many voters have already voted early or absentee, Brewer contended Saturday that that’s not the case.

“Well, you know, I believe that there’s still plenty of people out there that have not voted, and we don’t know how those people that’ve already voted voted,” she said. “So, no, I don’t (think it’s too late). And it’s not just for the endorsement to influence. It’s so that I can get behind that candidate and work as hard as I know how to get him elected and help him spread the message.”

But Brewer was literally tight-lipped on who she plans to back.

Asked whether she thought Santorum has a good chance against Obama in the fall, Brewer did not answer; instead, she stayed silent for a full five seconds.

Asked the same about Romney, she greeted the question with a three-second pause.

Brewer did, however, have warm words for former House speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) on the issue of illegal immigration.

“They all are basically in my opinion saying pretty much the same thing (on immigration),” she said. “I did like Newt Gingrich, when he made the statement that he wanted to work with the border governors and together, collectively together. And that means he’s going to work with us. He understands that we’re the, you know, we’re the people that are facing them on a daily basis.”

Brewer spoke to reporters at the basement level of the J.W. Marriott in downtown Washington, just outside the ballroom where the NGA was holding its afternoon sessions. The Arizona governor was lingering at a concession stand that was offering wares from Virginia, where the NGA’s summer conference will be held.

“Are you going to move to Virginia?” one reporter asked.

“Well, I was looking for chocolate!” Brewer responded, holding up a chocolate bar with a Virginia slogan on it.

By  |  05:36 PM ET, 02/25/2012

 
Read what others are saying
     

    © 2011 The Washington Post Company