Martinez is one in a big field

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By Jay Miller

SANTA FE — We said two weeks ago that New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez’s selection as a Republican National Convention speaker was a slam-dunk for the committee.
Republicans have significant problems with women and minorities so the selection of several minority women with high offices was an easy call.
And now comes the news that our governor will speak immediately before Paul Ryan’s address.
That is a real coup. Her slot is being touted as second only to keynoter Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio will introduce presidential nominee Mitt Romney on the final night of the convention.
Every one of the multitude of convention speakers has a special message to deliver.
Martinez was chosen to tell the inspiring story of her life and to talk about what needs to be done to keep the promise of America for the next generation.
Other women governors chosen as speakers are South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin. Other women on the convention program are U.S. Rep Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and Ann Romney.
Also speaking in a prime position will be former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who is expected to talk about the need for a strong military. Many would have liked to see her as the vice-presidential nominee but her pro-choice position ruled that out.
Gov. Nikki Haley, who is East Indian, talked to the convention faithful about diversity and will appeal to the young. She is the youngest governor in the nation at 40.
She also can appeal to the military. Her husband is scheduled for deployment to Afghanistan next year.
Other new governors who will share the platform are Brian Sandoval of Nevada, Luiz Fortuno of Puerto Rico and Scott Walker of Wisconsin.
Like several other Hispanic elected officials, Sandoval does not speak Spanish. Martinez may sell better to Hispanics because she speaks the language well.
The tea partiers will hear from Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, former Democratic Rep. Artur Davis of Alabama and Georgia Attorney General Sam Owens.
The swing state of Florida has numerous speakers. Among them are Rubio, Gov. Rick Scott, Rep. Connie Mack and Bondi. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush also is on the agenda and likely to talk about the brand of education reform New Mexico currently is experiencing.
Ohio, another swing state, is represented by Gov. John Kasich, House Speaker John Boehner and U.S. Sen. Rob Portman. Pennsylvania will be represented by Rick Santorum, a former Mitt Romney challenger.
The old timers will be represented by Sen. John McCain, the GOP’s most recent presidential candidate, and Mike Huckabee, who ran against McCain in the 2008 presidential primaries and who was expected to jump in again this year.  
Instead of testing the presidential waters, Huckabee kept his popular Fox-TV show and interviewed the top candidates. He had almost exclusive access to Rep. Todd Akin as the Missouri Senate candidate debated whether to withdraw from his race. Huckabee’s convention message is expected to be directed toward Christian conservatives.
And, of course, vice-presidential candidate Ryan, a U.S.  Representative from Wisconsin, will make a major address. Ryan has been in the news more often than presidential candidate Mitt Romney lately because of his close political ties to the much-maligned Akin. That may bring some extra focus on Ryan during the convention.
Several prominent Republicans have been notable for not being included as a convention speaker. They include Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann, Rick Perry and Ron Paul. The blow to Rep. Paul may have been softened by the selection of his son Rand Paul to speak.
The GOP is doing something very interesting with Newt Gingrich who also is not on the list of speakers. Gingrich instead will be immersed in something convention organizers call Gingrich University. Classes are being conducted each morning of the convention on how to sell the GOP’s platform during the 2012 campaign.