Thursday, August 23, 2012

Governor Skips Romney Appearance

Romney in Hobbs.
Photo stolen from Rob Nikolewski
New Mexico Capitol Report

One prominent New Mexico Republican not spotted in Hobbs today with GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney was Gov. Susana Martinez.

Romney was in Hobbs to attend a fundraiser and to give a speech about energy policy.

State Democratic Party Chairman Javier Gonzales took note of that, and in a rare moment of bipartisan magnanimity, he called it a "smart move."

“After publicly stating she disagrees with parts of the Romney-Ryan budget, Governor Martinez made a smart move in avoiding appearing alongside Mitt Romney and his failed energy strategy today in Hobbs. Despite being slated for one of the top speaking slots at the Republican National Convention (RNC), Governor Martinez is distancing herself from Romney in her home state. That’s because she understands the devastating impact that the Romney-Ryan budget would have in New Mexico.

Gov. Susana MartinezThe disagreement Gonzales spoke of was a recent interview with Capital Report New Mexico in which she said, "I disagree with parts of [Ryan's budget proposals]. I certainly want our labs to be strong here in New Mexico. I will communicate that should Romney and Ryan win. I want New Mexico’s labs to remain just as they are.”

Martinez's political director Jay McCleskey said in an email, "Gov. Martinez had a long-standing commitment to speak at a luncheon with job creators from the top 100-revenue producing businesses in New Mexico. Unlike President Obama, Gov. Martinez understands that the economy is built by these local businesses and she kept her commitment to them."

According to a news release yesterday, the governor was attending a luncheon at Sandia Pueblo today about the same time as the Romney speech. The luncheon was hosted by a group called The New Mexico Private 100, which "recognizes the top 100 revenue-producing companies headquartered in New Mexico."

But if Martinez really is trying not to be associated with Romney, she's not doing a good job at it. As Gonzales alluded to, she's speaking next Tuesday night at the Republican National Convention in a "prime slot." (Right before keynote speaker, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.) There's bound to be folks from New Mexico watching who'll get the idea that Martinez is supporting Romney.