Republican mayor Scott Smith rises in Arizona

Mesa, Ariz., Mayor Scott Smith told POLITICO that he is taking a “very, very close look” at a 2014 campaign for governor, and warned that the Republican Party needs to make inroads into suburbs and cities in order to recover as a national party.

Smith, a Republican recently reelected to a second term, is slated to become president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors later this year. He says that role is his primary focus at the moment, even as other Arizona Republicans eye what may be an open-seat governor’s race.

“If I make a decision, it will probably be in the first part of 2014,” said Smith, who sounded unconcerned about the possibility that incumbent Gov. Jan Brewer could seek another term.

There’s some uncertainty about whether Brewer is allowed to run again. She took office in 2009 after then-Gov. Janet Napolitano resigned to become secretary of homeland security, and Brewer may contest the assumption that her term-and-a-half would trigger Arizona’s two-term limit for governors.

“I don’t believe she’s going to run again and I’m moving ahead with the assumption she’s not,” Smith said. “If she does change, it’ll certainly be a factor. But for right now, I’m anticipating she probably won’t run. She may surprise everyone. It wouldn’t be the first time she’s surprised everyone.”

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