Palin provides energy, media buzz for Martinez’s campaign


Palin, shown here speaking at a rally for John McCain in Roswell in October 2008. (Photo by Heath Haussamen)

Sarah Palin’s endorsement of Republican gubernatorial candidate Susana Martinez will provide a boost to Martinez’s campaign, most Republicans interviewed over the weekend said.

Palin’s endorsement generated media buzz for Martinez across New Mexico and even caught the attention of the Washington Post. And the fact that almost 1,300 people crammed into Sunday’s rally to see Palin – even though the event was announced to the public only 24 hours earlier – is indicative of the energy Palin’s backing brings to the Martinez campaign.

Citing his opinion that Martinez is “the quintessential outsider in a field of political insiders” in the GOP gubernatorial primary, Sen. Rod Adair, R-Roswell, said Palin’s endorsement “just may well finally be the key to having Republicans focus on that fact, allowing her to overcome the heavy spending of her opponents.”

Adair hasn’t endorsed any candidate in the race but said he believes Martinez, “because of her story, her life’s narrative and her political profile, gives the Republicans far and away the best chance of capturing the governorship.”

Susana Martinez

Former state Rep. Dan Foley, who isn’t backing any candidate in the race, said the endorsement “will really help boost the Martinez campaign.”

“Gov. Palin is well liked and has strong support amongst the GOP base,” Foley said. “She also has a strong following amongst members of the tea party, which is a huge group and one that will truly have an impact in the primary as well as general election.”

Most others contacted by – who did not want to speak on the record – agreed that the endorsement will fire up supporters and provide a boost for Martinez.

The energy Palin’s supporters bring could make all the difference in the GOP primary. Turnout is expected by many to be between 30 and 35 percent. With five candidates, that means the race could be decided by a few thousand votes.

A different opinion

The lone dissenter contacted over the weekend was former U.S. Rep. Bill Redmond of Los Alamos, who said Palin’s endorsement will be a “wash” in the primary election. He said Republicans who don’t like John McCain aren’t happy that Palin has endorsed him in his tough U.S. Senate primary against tea-party favorite J.D. Hayworth.

“Those GOP voters may balance out any support Palin may swing toward Martinez,” Redmond said.

Though he believes Palin’s endorsement will help Martinez, Foley also said he wonders whether Palin’s backing of “people across the spectrum” like McCain will “water down the effectiveness of her endorsement.”

And Foley said endorsements only help “if you have the funds to let everyone know about them.”

Martinez has been vastly outspent in the primary race by Allen Weh, who has pumped $1 million of his own money into his campaign. There’s a question of whether Martinez will be able to keep up with Weh’s media buys in the two weeks of the race.

The combination of the Palin endorsement and a weekend Albuquerque Journal poll that showed Martinez and Weh neck and neck gave Martinez some momentum heading into the final two weeks of the campaign. The question is whether she’ll have the funds to keep it going.

Palin’s backing will probably help Martinez raise money. Will it be enough?


What about the general?

If Martinez does keep the momentum going and wins the primary, the Palin endorsement could be polarizing in the general election, even though Martinez has prided herself on the ability to win Democratic votes as Doña Ana County’s district attorney.

The effect Palin’s backing will have among some liberals was expressed by Damien Willis, a Las Cruces radio DJ and newspaper columnist.

“I’m a liberal, but would consider voting for Susana, because I believe that she’s very moderate, and she’s an achiever. She’s likable, goal-oriented, and determined,” he wrote on Facebook. “But Palin’s endorsement causes me to worry that Martinez may not be as moderate as I had perceived. In short, I’d rather see Martinez’s efforts working toward the middle, and not the lunatic fringe.”

Claudia Anderson, A Democratic Party activist in Farmington, wrote on Facebook that she believes the Palin endorsement will energize Democrats, just like her candidacy for vice president did in 2008.

“I was an Obama intern… and the day after her convention speech we were literally flooded with volunteers,” Anderson wrote.

Exciting the GOP base

Martinez is probably more worried at this point about Weh than a general-election contest against Democrat Diane Denish that isn’t yet a reality. The rhetoric Palin used to describe Martinez during Sunday’s rally was designed to excite the GOP base.

Palin called Martinez “a strong pro-family, pro-life, pro-Second Amendment, pro-development fiscal conservative who’s going to fight the corruption that’s plagued her state and bring transparency, accountability and renewed fiscal vitality to New Mexico.”

“As a tough district attorney, Susana fights for justice everyday in this promising, beautiful state,” Palin said. “Her unwavering commitment to bring justice speaks to her determination and strength of character. As governor, Susana will lead New Mexico to a new economic vitality based on free market reform that cuts out the cronyism, invites competition, reduces taxes, cuts waste, and creates jobs – all while identifying and rooting out the corruption that has taken hold for too long in this state which deserves so much better.”

Martinez, at Sunday’s rally with Palin, said she is “deeply honored and humbled to have Governor Palin’s support.”

“For many months, my campaign has worked hard to communicate that we must reform government and hold state officials to account,” Martinez said. “As governor, I will put a stop to the reckless fiscal policies that have produced a massive budget deficit and clean up the corruption and abuse so we can create jobs in New Mexico, while restoring integrity and honesty to state government.”

You can watch Palin’s speech here.

9 thoughts on “Palin provides energy, media buzz for Martinez’s campaign

  1. Santafe Observer – Ignorance must be bliss – In 2005 alone there were 400 incidents of groundwater contamination from oil and gas pits. Facts are facts – thisis not left wing stuff, tea party rants or right wing ramblings! Please read

    The oil and gas industry is having problems as a direct result of the drop in oil and natural gas prices not the pit rule! The New Mexico Weekly Business stated : “The industry was also fully engaged in the creation of the new Pit Rule. In the president of the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association, had stated that while the new regulations were tough, the industry could live with them. Furthermore, testimony during the OCC hearing clearly showed that any increased costs to industry that might result from the new Pit Rule are not unreasonable.”

    So your observations from Santa Fe are wrong!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Being a marine in Vietnam and running a state governement is like apples and oranges. There is no way Weh can beat Denish in November. Most Republicans don’t like him, Hispanics distrust him, and he is not personable. He acts as if he is going to rule Sate Fe like Attila the Hun.

  3. Susanna Martinez has now established herself as the “Just tell me what to say and who to stand next to, and I’ll wave and smile giddily in desperation” candidate.

    The sideshow never ends in the NM GOP.

  4. The Republican party was just a little out of awray after the Dendal/Gorham wars when Allen was asked to take over. The war continued as county “principalities” were content with local power and doing things as always done while the National GOP also lost its way in spending and Bush falling from favor with prolonged war, etc. Even in the tough times, Allen raised more money than any previous chair for the party even in lean unpopular times. I think he did what he felt was needed and that is what we need in Santa Fe. Someone willing to make the hard decisions. This is one of the advantages of his war experience. He is more of a hero than McCain!

    I almost wonder whether the GOP hanger-on-ers want a Governor who will hire them as consultants or give them jobs in State Government, and they are not sure Allen will hire them, so they are looking for a candidate who will just do what they suggest. I can not imagine being governor of this State (or any State). What a huge job. It does take a special person. Janice could do it but is way behind. Allen is the only other one I have faith in and he can beat Dennish, but I understand that is the theme of those trying to stop him and get someone else elected. He can be elected, especially if All the Republicans vote. What is with this 30-35% turnout. RJ Berry should have won by 80% if the Republicans had just turned out.

  5. Stork, just remember that there is alot of us who absolutely REFUSE to vote for Allen Weh in the General Election. If Weh is succesful in buying this primary for himself, I do hope there is an Independent ready to step forward and run. We could see another Jesse Ventura type victory here in New Mexico if they do. Weh’s only success in the GOP was to tear it apart and divide it’s members when he was state chair. By the way the polls look currently, there are more Republicans against him than there are for him.

  6. I think that prior to this endorsement that Allen Weh was supported by the majority of Tea Party folk. They now realize that Sarah Palin got a recommendation from someone to support Susana Martinez without really knowing the other 4 candidates. I also agree that this endorsement will hurt in the General when Democratic votes are essential.

    It is too bad she did not stay out of the race when there are so many good candidates. I still think that Allen Weh has the skills needed to be the CEO of the State of NM and wonder who will really be governor if some of the less experienced candidates were to be elected. They are all fine people, but managing a multi billion dollar company with thousand of employees needs a business executive, not a lawyer, media mogul, or consultant. I am praying for Allen Weh all the way.

  7. Hemingway –

    Sounds to me like Newsweek has never visited New Mexico if the state wasn’t listed as a corrupt state. All we have to do is look over our shoulder and the corruption is apparent. Everybody knows New Mexico is corrupt, but the fact that Newsweek didn’t list that fact is no excuse.

    As far as the oil and gas issue is concerned, the new pit rule is not grounded in sound science (see the shutdown of Otero Mesa). It’s a result of the extreme left wing environmental groups wanting to shut down the industry in New Mexico because they do not believe in the industry. There have been very few cases where the industry has done damage to the environment, and when it does happen, there are remedies in place to deal with that. Adding up to $250,000 to the cost of opening up a well in New Mexico is inexcusable.

  8. Susana Martinez’s campaign is based on a lot of hot air and political rhetoric. In her “ethics” video produced In 2007, Ms. Martinez stated that New Mexico “is the most corrupt state in the nation.” In published lists of corrupt states New Mexico is not even listed (ie Newsweek).

    Secondly she got a lot on money from the oil and gas industry. Now her campaign wants to abolish pit rules so we can more cases of water contamination. It is a clear sell out to the industry.