Jan Brewer says there's no secret plan for her to win the race and resign over health issues to make Ken Bennett the governor.
Brewer, in an interview with Capitol Media Services, flatly denied blog postings by former U.S. Senate candidate John Dougherty that she is suffering from health problems and wants to stay in the race only long enough to win the election.
No one in the mainstream media -- including Capitol Media Services, Associated Press or The Arizona Republic -- had reported on or repeated Dougherty's unsourced posting, at least not until Brewer herself put out a statement Tuesday asserting her good health. But that did not stop Chuck Coughlin, her campaign adviser, from blaming Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Terry Goddard for trying to spread doubt about the governor's health.
His proof? That Goddard's campaign released a letter form his Dr. Mark Wallace late Tuesday saying he examined the candidate last month and found him to be "in general good health with no significant medical concerns.''
"They continue to try and go down this road which is not about the issues, not about governing,'' Coughlin said.
But he didn't stop at that: Coughlin said if the media is inquiring about Brewer's health -- an issue he said has nothing to do with the campaign -- then reporters should question Goddard about his sexual orientation.
"What I'm doing in my own blog and my own space is doing what the Goddard campaign was doing to the governor: raising stupid issues which I think is irrelevant to the campaign'' Coughlin told Capitol Media Services. He said Goddard's sexual orientation "is a stupid, irrelevant issue, just as the governor's health issue -- she's addressed it -- is equally irrelevant.''
Brewer, however, said Coughlin was acting on his own in raising questions about Goddard's personal life.
"You need to talk to him about that,'' the governor said. And Brewer said she believes Goddard's sexual orientation is "very irrelevant,'' as she believes is the whole dust-up over her health.
Goddard, who is married and has a child, has been the subject of rumors about his sexuality since he ran for governor in 1990.
"That was asked and answered 20 years ago,'' said campaign press aide Jeanine L'Ecuyer. And, she said, the answer is "no.''
And L'Ecuyer said actions by both Coughlin and Brewer belie the claim that she wants the race against Goddard to be about the issues.
"She won't debate,'' L'Ecuyer said.
"She runs from the media at every opportunity,'' L'Ecuyer continued. "And when someone speaks on her behalf, it's Chuck Coughlin who now is stooping to some of the lowest tactics I've ever seen and actively fabricating stories.''
Brewer, however, said she is sticking to the issues.
"I've tried to keep my campaign going on the subjects of the economy, jobs, education and border security,'' the governor said. "It seems to me that everybody else want to talk about everything else.''
L'Ecuyer said there was nothing political about Goddard's physical or the decision to release the information.
She said he gets an annual exam every year. And L'Ecuyer said the decision was made last month, after this year's annual visit, that he would release those records if anyone asked.
Those requests, she said, came Tuesday.
L'Ecuyer said nothing was available Tuesday because the doctor was out of town. She said the only medical condition she knows of involving Goddard is elevated cholesterol, though she said she does not know if he is taking medications for that.
Brewer said there is "absolutely not'' anything in what she is taking in medications or any treatments she is receiving that could result in her not completing four full years in office if voters choose her next month. The governor flatly denied she was undergoing any ongoing treatments, including radiation or chemotherapy.
And she said there is nothing going on in her life -- involving health or any other personal issue -- that would preclude her from staying in office until the end of 2014.
"I know when you run for governor you make a commitment,'' Brewer said.
"That's why I took it upon myself and told my staff I was going to the doctor and I was going to have everything that could possibly be done in an examination,'' she continued.
"Everything came back perfect, better than what I had even anticipated,'' Brewer said. "My cholesterol was perfect, my heart rate was perfect, my blood pressure was perfect.''
About the only medical condition Brewer had recently was a broken blood vessel in her hand around the time of the August primary. Staffers got her a sling, not they said because it was medically necessary but to keep people from trying to shake her hand.
Brewer at one time was a cigarette smoker, a habit she said she gave up years ago.
If she were to resign after that, the secretary of state would become governor. That is currently Republican Ken Bennett who is expected to defeat Democratic challenger Chris Deschene.
But if Brewer were to quit now, the job would go to the attorney general, as Bennett was appointed to his post and not in the line of succession. That would elevate Goddard, potentially giving him a leg-up in his gubernatorial campaign.
Dougherty, a former Phoenix New Times reporter, did not return phone calls seeking comment.