The Arizona governor formally announces her support to the former Massachusetts governor in the GOP race.
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) endorsed Mitt Romney for president during her appearance Sunday morning on “Meet the Press.”
Brewer said she viewed Romney as the most electable candidate to challenge President Obama this fall, and that she made her conclusion after meeting with the candidates and after a debate this week in Arizona.
“I have decided that I am going to publicly endorse Mitt Romney. I think he's the man that can carry the day,” Brewer said. “I think Mitt is by far the person who can go in and win.”
Brewer has become a national figurehead for efforts to curb illegal immigration after leading an effort to install one of the nation’s toughest immigration laws.
She also drew headlines for a confrontation recently with President Obama on an airport tarmac. She was photographed wagging a finger at the president after greeting him and handing him a handwritten note. Brewer described the exchange as being driven by Obama’s dissatisfaction with her book, though the president described the exchange as being “not a big deal.”
Romney is seen as the leader in Arizona, the winner of which is awarded all of the state’s delegates to the Republican National Convention this summer.
Forty-three percent of likely Republican primary voters said they intend to vote for Romney in a NBC News/Marist poll released midweek; he was followed by former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum at 27 percent, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich at 16 percent and Texas Rep. Ron Paul at 11 percent.
Arizona hosts its primary, along with Michigan, on Tuesday. A larger group of states host their primaries or caucuses a week later, on Super Tuesday. Brewer said she expected Super Tuesday to largely end the battle for the nomination, even if Santorum were to continue fighting.
“He might be in it but I think it’ll be overwhelmingly decided after Super Tuesday,” she said.
That poll also suggested that a Republican candidate who might embrace Arizona’s tough laws targeting illegal immigrants would fare better among primary voters. Brewer was the most vocal proponent of the law, which requires police officers to check the citizenship papers of people they stop or arrest if the officer suspects the person may be in this country illegally.
Sixty-seven percent of likely Republican primary voters said they would be more likely to support a candidate who backs that law, while 25 percent said it would have no effect. Six percent of Republicans said a candidate’s support for the law would make it less likely to win their vote.
Moreover, the poll found that 24 percent of Arizona Republicans said Romney best represents their views on immigration, while 20 percent said Gingrich, and 18 percent said Santorum.