Bob Perry and his wife Doylene each gave $100,000 to Martinez’s campaign on May 4, according to the finance report Martinez filed on Friday. Perry gave another $100,000 on May 13 and $150,000 on May 25.
“Susana appreciates the support she has received from Bob and Doylene Perry, both of whom have been very supportive in the past of Republicans in New Mexico, including the state party,” Martinez Campaign Manager Adam DeGuire said in a prepared statement.
“In addition, Susana’s record of fighting for New Mexicans and taking on corruption, coupled with her bold vision for the state, has energized donors both large and small and allowed her to set the record straight against false attacks leveled by a candidate who invested more than $1.5 million in his own candidacy,” DeGuire said.
Perry’s support of the GOP in New Mexico – and Hispanic candidates in particular – is nothing new. Perry gave almost $240,000 to the 2002 gubernatorial campaign of Republican John Sanchez. In 2006, he gave a combined $160,000 to several statewide GOP candidates – nearly all of them Hispanic. He also gave $70,000 to the state party in 2006 and $20,000 to a Republican state House candidate from Doña Ana County, Isaac Chavez. And Perry gave $125,000 to the state GOP in June 2008.
Most of the donations came while one of Martinez’s opponents in the gubernatorial race, Allen Weh, was state GOP chairman. Weh is the candidate who has been accused of false attacks and who has spent $1.6 million of his own money on his campaign.
The donations from the Perrys accounted for 60 percent of Martinez’s fundraising in the last three weeks and have allowed her to keep up with Weh’s largely self-financed TV ad blitz.
Perry spokesman Anthony Holm was quoted by The Associated Press as saying Perry gave to Martinez to ensure she has “an opportunity to get her message of integrity out to the people.” He said Perry believes Martinez “is reformer with a strong voice who represents the future of the Republican Party.”
Perry, a Houston homebuilder, is most controversial because of his funding of the Swift Boat group that attacked Democratic Presidential nominee John Kerry in 2004. The group’s actions led to a new political term – “swiftboating” – which is used to describe an unfair or untrue attack.
The state Democratic Party was quick to pounce when Martinez’s finance report – and contributions from the Perrys – became public on Friday.
“Susana Martinez talks a big game about ethics, but actions speak louder than words,” state Democratic Party Chairman Javier Gonzales said. “By taking $450,000, the largest donation in state history, from the people responsible for the dirtiest campaign ploy in years, Martinez is announcing that ethics reform will no longer be part of her campaign platform.”
Martinez has kept up with Weh’s self-financing by accepting such massive contributions. Earlier in the campaign, she took $117,500 from Mack Energy Corp. of Artesia. Gonzales hit her for that as well.
“Susana Martinez’s campaign strategy is simple: First saddle up to powerful oil companies, then to Sarah Palin, and now to the Swift Boaters,” he said. “Meanwhile, New Mexico families are left completely behind.”