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Politics notebook: More Hispanics Needed in GOP

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An Albuquerque business owner and major GOP donor running to lead the New Mexico Republican Party says the party’s future has little to do with the role of Gov. Susana Martinez’s controversial political adviser, Jay McCleskey.

John Rockwell said he’s running for party chairman to put greater focus on attracting Hispanics, women and younger voters into the GOP ranks.

“I think this last election demonstrated pretty clearly that the ratio of Hispanics in our state to Anglos is not represented in the Republican Party,” Rockwell said. “I think we have to work harder to share our values with everybody in the state to make sure we have good representation.”

Lincoln County GOP chair John Billingsley has already announced plans to run for the party’s top seat. Among his recommendations for the GOP is to part ways with McCleskey’s campaign tactic of using independent political groups to support or attack candidates in Republican primary races.

Rockwell acknowledges McCleskey is a controversial figure within the party, but said the political consultant doesn’t play a role in the party’s direction.

“My intention is to organize much better than it has been organized. I believe that will result in more voter registrations and a winning program,” Rockwell said of the party.

Rockwell also said the party needs to be a better fundraiser for its candidates.

Republican Party leaders will meet Dec. 8 to select a new chairman to replace outgoing party chair Monty Newman of Hobbs.
- James Monteleone; jmonteleone@abqjournal.com

Out of the COuntRY: Gov. Susana Martinez returned to New Mexico on Friday after traveling to Chihuahua for an annual meeting with top elected officials of the Mexican state.

The two-day meeting of the New Mexico-Chihuahua Commission came less than two months after a separate gathering of U.S. and Mexican border state governors in Albuquerque.

This week’s meetings, attended by both Martinez and Chihuahua Gov. Cesar Duarte, focused on border infrastructure, tourism, public safety, health and other topics.

Martinez, who has taken an active role in such regional alliances, traveled to and from Chihuahua on a state-owned aircraft, Martinez spokesman Scott Darnell said Friday.

Her travel costs were paid for by the state, he said.
- Dan Boyd; dboyd@abqjournal.comMore Hispanics Needed in GOP

— This article appeared on page C1 of the Albuquerque Journal

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