Gov. Susana Martinez will take on a new national Republican leadership role as co-chair of the Future Majority Caucus, a revamped political arm of the Republican State Leadership Committee designed to recruit Hispanic and female candidates for state offices around the United States.
The RSLC said it plans to announce the formation of the new Future Majority Caucus led by Martinez and Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval on Wednesday.
On the heels of the 2012 general election in which Hispanic voters largely favored Democratic candidates and helped propel President Barack Obama to re-election, the GOP is looking to Martinez to take a more prominent role in bringing new Hispanic Republicans into the fold to run for state offices.
“Its goal is something she’s always talked about and committed to, which is to recruit more Hispanic candidates,” said Martinez political adviser Jay McCleskey. “… She’ll be very active in helping them raise resources, as well as helping them recruit candidates all across the country.”
Meanwhile, New Mexico Democratic Party officials criticized Martinez as working to build a national political résumé rather than working to address issues at home in New Mexico.
McCleskey said Martinez also will focus efforts at home to recruit New Mexico candidates. She played a role in recruiting recently elected Hispanic Republican state Reps. Monica Youngblood and Paul Pacheco, both representing districts in Albuquerque.
The Future Majority Caucus will be a permanent expansion of the Republican State Leadership Committee’s Future Majority Project, established in 2011 as a recruiting tool for Hispanic candidates.
Martinez, the nation’s first elected Hispanic female governor, was one of 11 board members of that early effort.
But Democratic Party of New Mexico Chairman Javier Gonzales said Martinez’s campaign efforts for national Republican groups are overshadowing the work that needs to be done at home in New Mexico.
“With a job crisis right here in New Mexico, Gov. Martinez once again is proving she’s focused on her future and not New Mexico’s,” Gonzales said in a statement.
Gonzales also criticized Martinez as having a lack of influence on the 2012 general election in New Mexico. Democrats last November won the state vote for president, U.S. Senate and a majority of seats in both the state House and Senate.
“If the last election in New Mexico were any indication of the governor’s coattails, the Republicans are in trouble,” Gonzales said.
The RSLC raised more than $29 million during the 2012 election cycle to support Republican candidates in state races, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a website that tracks campaign spending. About $5.5 million was directed to support Republican Hispanic and female candidates through the Future Majority Project, the RSLC said.
— This article appeared on page A1 of the Albuquerque Journal