Most election lawyers and other experts say that Gov. Jan Brewer is barred from seeking another term by the Arizona Constitution, which limits executive officers to two consecutive four-year terms, including “any part of a term served.”

But Ballard Spahr partner Joseph A. Kanefield, a former State Election Director and Gov. Brewer's General Counsel before entering private practice, contends that the term limit refers to two elected terms. In 2009, Gov. Brewer, who was then Secretary of State, automatically became governor when then-Gov. Janet Napolitano resigned to join the Obama administration.

After serving the remainder of Gov. Napolitano's term, Gov. Brewer was elected to a full term in 2010. Mr. Kanefield argues that the term-limits provision conflicts with the constitutional provision on succession, which says a successor to the Governor’s Office “shall become governor in fact.”

“I think they were talking about an elected term,” Mr. Kanefield said. “It’s not clear if it means a term that you’re elected to serve, or does it include a term that you were appointed to serve, or does it include a term that you succeeded? I think the logical reading of ‘term’ is an elected term, (and) that you shall not serve more than two elected terms in office.”