Palin backs Susana Martinez

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Popular GOP figure endorses gubernatorial candidate at Albuquerque rally

By Carol A. Clark

ALBUQUERQUE — During a rally Sunday morning in Albuquerque, Republican gubernatorial candidate Susana Martinez received the endorsement of former vice presidential candidate and Alaska governor Sarah Palin.

“Looking around the room we’ve got Tea Party American Republicans in the room, Independents like my own husband…, hard core Republicans in this room, we’ve got Reagan Democrats…with this diversity it is unity…unity by people who want reform in this state, more security and honesty…send (Susana Martinez) to Santa Fe please, to do the job and New Mexico will be better for it…” Palin said.

In endorsing Martinez for governor of New Mexico, Palin said she is proud to do so because Martinez is 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.”

Palin’s powerful endorsement comes just two weeks before the Republican Party’s June 1 primary election and observers say it may launch Martinez over the top.

“I think this is a huge boost for her – she’s already tied with Allen Weh and I think this will help her win,” said Rep. Dennis Kintigh, R-Chaves, Lincoln and Otero counties.

An Albuquerque Journal poll Sunday morning put Martinez and Weh in a virtual tie at about 30 percent. Their GOP opponents Pete Domenici Jr., Doug Turner and Janice Arnold-Jones trail far behind. An estimated 20 percent of voters remain undecided.

“Did anyone read the paper this morning?” Martinez asked the several hundred people packed into the Marriott ballroom. “We are essentially tied for first place and I’m going to call on each of you to call five of your friends and (if you do that) we are going to soar.”

Supporters are betting Palin’s presence all but guarantees Martinez the June 1 primary. Supporters also are betting it’s going to take a Hispanic woman to beat Democratic opponent, Lt. Gov. Diane Denish in November.  

“I believe this is a very strong endorsement to show Susana has very conservative credentials,” said Daniel Vigil of Socorro following Palin’s speech. “Susana used to be a Democrat and I believe that in New Mexico you have to be able to bring over Democrats in order to win both the primary and general elections. I think Allen Weh appeals to a lot of Republicans but I don’t think he can win the general election.”

Marilyn Johnston of Albuquerque agreed saying, “I think having Sarah Palin here today is what we needed for our state and it’s very important for the Republican Party because Susana Martinez is a very capable candidate and I think Sarah will ensure her win.”  

President Bill Clinton is expected to headline a Denish fundraiser at the Albuquerque Embassy Suites this evening, which is closed to the media. Denish Campaign Communications Director Chris Cervini said Monday that Clinton will schedule another trip to New Mexico within the next five months that will be open to the general public and the media.