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Susana Martinez 2016: What 4 Leading Pundits Say About Potential GOP Presidential Hopeful

Image: Susana Martinez 2016: What 4 Leading Pundits Say About Potential GOP Presidential Hopeful
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By    |   Monday, 09 Feb 2015 05:05 PM

In her State of the State address, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, who was at one point a potential candidate for the presidency in 2016, stressed education and the economy as her two main focuses during her second term.

She also ticked off a list of accomplishments in New Mexico during her first four years as governor, praising bipartisan cooperation for cutting the state’s business tax rate by 22 percent, investing in job training to help small businesses, and implementing programs to bolster public education.

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Her plans for the next four years in the state and how those plans will evolve take on even more meaning since Martinez has become more widely noticed on the national stage. Many more eyes will be on the country’s first female Hispanic governor as she plans to implement change in sometimes controversial ways.

Martinez’s national star began to rise in 2012, when she spoke before keynote speaker Chris Christie at the Republican National Convention. Since that time, pundits have been weighing in on the 55-year-old Martinez.

Here is what four pundits have to say about the Democrat-turned-Republican and former prosecutor:

1. Time magazine named Martinez one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2013. Karl Rove penned his reasons why Martinez was deserving of the title. “Though her state usually votes Democratic, that hasn’t stopped this Republican from working with a Democratic legislature to turn a structural deficit into a surplus, pass education reforms to rate each school’s performance, enact comprehensive tax reform, and focus on a pro-growth jobs agenda,” Rove wrote in Time. Rove also referred to Martinez as a "reform-minded conservative Republican."


2. Martinez has been compared both favorably and unfavorably to Sarah Palin. When Palin came to New Mexico to stump for Martinez during her first run for governor, she helped secure Martinez’s victory.

Now, if Martinez is going to be a GOP presidential hopeful, Martinez must shed any Palin comparisons, according to Joe Monahan, publisher of a blog on New Mexico politics.

“She (Martinez) looks great on paper, and that’s what the national operatives see,” Monahan told Real Clear Politics. “I think really the Achilles’ heel here that she has to overcome is that perception of being the Sarah Palin-type figure. The national political community is not going to risk that again.”

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3. In a state with more than 47 percent Hispanic population, Martinez uses her Latino heritage to her advantage. The Hispanic community relates well to Martinez, despite her Republican affiliation.

"She can go into rural Hispanic areas and tell (her) story and impress a lot of people," said Brian Sanderoff, an independent New Mexico pollster, to the Los Angeles Times. "It's a lot easier for a female Hispanic Republican to pull off than a middle-aged white guy, frankly."

4. Some critics say that when it comes to issues like New Mexico’s sluggish job growth, Martinez tends to point fingers at Washington rather than the state capitol.

“She has done a pretty good job of placing the blame of the slow recovery on the federal government and not so much on her,” Gabriel Sanchez, an associate professor of political science at the University of New Mexico, said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. “A lot of folks here say, ‘Well, it’s not her fault,’”

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New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez’s national star began to rise in 2012 when she spoke before keynote speaker Chris Christie at the Republican National Convention. Here is what four pundits have to say about the Democrat-turned-Republican and former prosecutor.
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