New Mexico's New Governor: Susana Martinez, American

Published on October 25th, 2010

In November, three candidates for major office, all Republicans of Hispanic ancestry, may be winners over their pro-amnesty Democratic rivals. And one of the reasons for their success is because they have joined us in the battle for sensible immigration policies. In the Nevada gubernatorial race, Brian Sandoval leads Rory Reid, son of Senate Majority leader Harry, by 20 points. The Florida senate race shows Marco Rubio, the son of Cuban immigrants, ahead of both his Democratic opponent U.S. Representative Kendrick Meek and independent Charlie Crist, the former governor. But the most compelling candidate may be Susana Martinez, a New Mexico district attorney who hopes to replace termed out Governor Bill Richardson, also a Hispanic. The differences between Martinez and Richardson on immigration are startling. For years, Richardson has advocated for amnesty for illegal aliens. On the other hand Martinez, a vocal supporter of Arizona’s S.B. 1070, pledges to rid New Mexico of illegal aliens and deny them driver’s licenses. A campaign ad aired by the Republican Party featured Martinez on the U.S.-Mexico border with this voice over: “I’m standing in New Mexico and on the other side of that fence is the murder capital of the world. When crime spills over, I prosecute.” While Martinez is speaking, armed police flash across the screen. Naturally, Democrats and especially open borders Democrats like Reid, Meeks and Diane Denish, Martinez’s opponent, and are unhappy with the patriotic position Hispanic candidates have taken on immigration. In short, the desperate Democrats all suggest that the Hispanic office seekers are trying to have it both ways–promoting their heritage to one audience while appealing to immigration restrictionists in another. Denish, who thinks Arizona’s law goes “too far” said this about Martinez: “Hispanics, like everybody else, are concerned about safety at the border. Immigration and border security are two different issues. My opponent, she’s spent 10, 11 months making people feel bad about New Mexico and about hard-working people that are here to support their families.” Martinez, however, sees herself as an American success story. That’s the important element in her campaign–she portrays herself not as anti-immigrant but an American working on behalf of other Americans of different races and ethnicities all of whom live in New Mexico. Martinez’s approach may put her in the governor’s mansion. Even though New Mexico is 45 percent Hispanic, she leads Denish by ten points in the most recent polling.

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