One long-time Arizona politico will be watching tonight’s Republican presidential debate with her checkbook in mind.
Former Gov. Jan Brewer is sitting on more than $325,000 in Jan Pac, her federal political action committee. That’s money she can spend only on races for federal offices.
And she’s planning to raise more as the election approaches.
What that means, the governor told Capitol Media Services, is she intends to do what she can to ensure that the Republican of her choice is nominated to be the party’s standard-bearer in 2016.
Brewer acknowledged that her war chest, such as it is, is puny in comparison to the nearly $900 million the Koch brothers have promised to spend on the 2016 presidential race.
Yet even in political retirement, and without doing much in the first half of 2015, she continues to have the ability to attract donations: She picked up another $25,000 from Charles Joyce, chairman of Otis Eastern Services, located in New York state, which is involved in the construction and rehabilitation of natural-gas pipelines.
“He is so supportive of me,” Brewer said, having given her an identical amount last election cycle.
Brewer also said Joyce has an Arizona connection, owning an art studio in Scottsdale and having a home in the state.
Brewer said the cash she has and intends to raise, coupled with her moral and vocal support, may be just the thing needed to push her choice over the top in the particularly crowded field.
But as to tonight’s debate among the Top 10 candidates, Brewer insisted she has no early favorites in terms of who merits her support.
“I am just going to watch that debate and soak it all in,” she said. Brewer said she is particularly interested in what will happen with Trump the early frontrunner.
“Are they going to go after him?” she wondered out loud.
The former governor said she is not discouraged by the fact there are so many contenders out there so early in the process. The trick, she said, is winnowing down the field.
“We’ve got to keep the one who can beat Hillary (Clinton) or (Joe) Biden,” she said.
Brewer said she’s not surprised by Trump’s early popularity. She said it’s sort of a mirror image of what’s occurring among the Democrats with the groundswell of support for Bernie Sanders.
“You know what that tells you?” she said.
“On both sides of the aisle, people are angry and they don’t like the way the country is going,” the former governor continued. “They want straight talk and they want a truth-teller,” a term Brewer often used when referring to herself during her tenure as governor.
What that also shows, she said, is that voters are not interested in the canned speeches that so often are the staple of political campaigns.
“They want people that talk from the heart,” Brewer said.
No matter who ends up winning the GOP nomination, Brewer professes no interest in becoming the No 2 on the ticket, even if asked.
“I love what I’m doing,” she said. That includes several some consulting contracts including one with the Phoenix office of a national law firm.
Don’t look for the former governor to blow all of her cash on the presidential race. Brewer said she also is keeping an eye on several high-profile congressional races in Arizona, a place she said where a little bit of money “sure can help.”