October 25th, 2010
10:34 PM ET
12 years ago

New Mexico candidate for governor says Republicans 'outnumbered'


Alamogordo, New Mexico (CNN) - When CNN interviewed Susana Martinez, New Mexico's Republican candidate for Governor, we got a surprise. Our cameraman John Torigoe was trying to clip the microphone pack to the candidate's belt when she pulled away and said "Be careful, that's a gun back there." Martinez tells CNN she has a permit to carry a concealed weapon.

She was packing heat when she addressed a gathering in Alamogordo, New Mexico on Monday. She warned them not to get too confident because "as Republicans we're outnumbered."

The polls look good she said but "We have to pretend we are ten points down. This is still a very Democratic state. We have to earn the votes of Democrats, independents and Tea Party Patriots."

If elected, Martinez will be the first Latina governor in the United States. She is a pro-death penalty, anti-abortion rights Republican endorsed by Sarah Palin, and polls show her leading her challenger, State Lieutenant Governor Diane Denish.

"She's given the Republican Governors association the ability to compete in what was thought of as a safe Democratic state," says Nick Ayers, Executive Director of the Republican Governors Association. If elected he believes Martinez will prevent President Obama from winning the state in 2012, and "broaden" the Republican Party's appeal to Latinos - a key constituency both parties are fighting to win over.

Martinez acknowledges the party has some work to do in the Latino community, advising Republicans to "talk about immigration in a very common sense way. And we have to have other Latinos running for office."

She doesn't shy away from her own tough-on-illegal immigration positions. As governor she says she'd try to revoke a state law that gave drivers licenses to undocumented immigrants.

The campaign has been marked by nasty ads. Martinez accused her opponent of using "stimulus funds to fly (a) $5 million jet" and "giving sanctuary to criminal illegals" including a child molester. Denish accuses Martinez of letting sex offenders go free and even closes one TV spot by saying Martinez is "not a pretty picture."

In general Denish has tried to paint the Republican as corrupt, beholden to big business, and too conservative for a state that twice elected Bill Richardson governor and went for Obama in 2008.

A new Denish campaign memo says Martinez promotes an agenda that will "protect loopholes for powerful corporations and will force her to cut critical services like education, Medicaid or public safety."

Emily's List, an organization devoted to electing Democratic women who favor reproductive rights, compares Martinez to Senate candidates Sharron Angle in Nevada and Christine O'Donnell in Delaware saying she "caters to extreme right-wing Tea Party voters".

Martinez brushes it off saying, "I don't have any response to make to anyone who would make such a comparison as that. I am my own person," and adds "Because I am pro-life I don't make any bones, no apologies for that whatsoever."

Though Sarah Palin's endorsement helped Martinez lock up the nomination the candidate now seems to be seeking distance telling CNN, "You know Sarah Palin's endorsement was in the primary. We were pleased to have it. We were pleased to have everyone else's endorsement." Asked if she would support Palin for President she punts saying "you know I am not focused on Sarah Palin at this point."

But she doesn't hesitate to discuss the role that women in politics can play insisting, "We are just as prepared as any male to take on the challenges of running our state, our communities, our city and the country. We are just as bright and we can handle the job."

In a year in which gaffe prone female candidates are getting a lot of press attention, the women running to be New Mexico's next governor are notable. Even critics don't accuse them of lacking credibility.

Filed under: 2010 • New Mexico • Susana Martinez
soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. russinmaine

    If Obama has his way the floodgates will be opened and he will let in the much needed several hundred thousand new votes for his party! He has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt to anyone with their eyes and ears open that the order of importance to him is #1 Himself (throw the unneeded under the bus) #2 The Democratic Party ( I'm beginning to see the need here as he will surely need more people to throw under the bus in coming weeks and months, and #3 The people of this Nation ( some of which he will need from time to time as elections dictate. Those that cannot see this pattern very clearly I truly feel sorry for!

    October 25, 2010 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  2. Politics 101

    FYI: Not all Hispanic/American citizens are a guaranteed vote for the Democrats, regardless of what the "self appointed and self serving" hispanic leadership says.

    October 25, 2010 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  3. ugly truth

    Oh of course diane denish hasnt said any BIG FAT embarrassing thngs right? hahaha, if a repub had said that it wudve been EVERYWHERE, print, web, t.v., for at least a wk. and dems have the gall to proclaim theres no media bias in their favor. any wonder new media is killing u fools? hahaha

    October 26, 2010 12:43 am at 12:43 am |
  4. Ryan

    Hahaha! She won't win for Governorship of New Mexico. She is scaring me. Nope.

    October 26, 2010 12:54 am at 12:54 am |
  5. use the brain

    I love how democrats are trying to paint republicans as corrupt, rich and in the pocket of corporations. If they looked at themselves, they'd see that they are corrupt (Watters, Rangel, Dodd, Barney Frank, Clinton, Obama...), rich (all those named plus Kerry, Pelosi, Boxer, Gore,...), and in the pocket of corporations, BANKS AND UNIONS (see Obama, Dodd, Barney Frank, Watters, SEIU, Freddie Mac/Fannie Mae, Goldman Sachs, AIG, Bank of America, Citigroup....).

    Democrats have a bad 4 year track record. Vote against the abuse of power and ideological mismanagement. Vote republican. (well, vote republican if you want the economy to recover....)

    October 26, 2010 01:15 am at 1:15 am |
  6. Another Palin endorsment goes nuts!

    WOW! Just wow! Another Republican Tea Party ready to use her 2nd admenment right on Democrats. Susana Martinez is no role model for kids, let alone the great state of NM.

    October 26, 2010 04:12 am at 4:12 am |
  7. jules sand-perkins

    For those who say that Republicans are "outnumbered," I have two words and one date to remember: Veuve Clicquot and November 2, 2010.

    October 26, 2010 05:45 am at 5:45 am |
  8. barry

    Martinez will do well. There is no wonder Democrats hate her. She is a Latino that works hard and is doing well. Liberals want to keep Latino's on Gov't hand outs so they can control them. It won't work Latino Americans are a hard working people who have a lot of pride. It is great that she will be the Governor of New Mexico

    October 26, 2010 06:02 am at 6:02 am |
  9. Marie MD

    Imagine that – the moral majority is neither. 🙂 🙂

    October 26, 2010 06:26 am at 6:26 am |
  10. carol tye

    Susana. Martinez Would Not be 1st hispanic Governor Pio Pico in California was last Pío Pico
    Category: Last Mexican Governor of Alta California
    Date of birth: May 5, 1801
    Date of death: September 11, 1894
    Profession: Entrepreneur, Politician
    Nationality: Spanish, American
    Place of birth: Mission San Gabriel Arcángel
    His Mansion is in Whittier & was laid to rest at the Workman Temple Estate in La Puente

    It might be nice to claim that as a 1st but all school children in Whittier went on a field trip to see the Mansion on Whittier Blvd

    October 26, 2010 09:20 am at 9:20 am |