PHOENIX – Former state Sen. Karen Johnson is exploring a possible candidacy for governor in 2010, a move that could set the stage for an intraparty challenge to Republican Gov. Jan Brewer.
Johnson on Wednesday created an exploratory committee in a filing with the Secretary of State’s Office.
“I think I’ll stick our toe in the water here and see what response we get,” Johnson said.
Johnson, 68, is a social and fiscal conservative and a longtime Republican Party activist who served 12 years in the Legislature. She represented a district in Mesa but she and her husband now live in Show Low in Navajo County. Johnson did not run for re-election last year.
“I don’t have any great illusion but . . . I think a lot of that depends on how many people are awake to the total fact that they’re losing their freedoms and liberties,” Johnson said when asked to assess her changes of winning the nomination and being elected governor.
States’ rights would be a major emphasis of her campaign, Johnson said. While in the Legislature, Johnson was a strong critic of illegal immigration and international agreements that she saw as a threat to U.S. sovereignty.