Moments after the Senate confirmed her as homeland security secretary yesterday afternoon, Janet Napolitano resigned as governor of Arizona. But because Arizona is one of the few states without a lieutenant governor, the office passes to the secretary of state—Jan Brewer, a Republican. In a twist, reports the Daily Star, Brewer would never have ascended to the top job if fellow Arizonan John McCain had won the presidency.
Brewer's rise to the top job transforms the politics of the state. Napolitano captured 63% of the vote in the 2006 election, but Brewer has made it clear that she will follow a more conservative path than her Democratic predecessor, including substantial budget cuts. Brewer will be inaugurated today in Phoenix, although she officially became governor yesterday.