SANTA FE, N.M. — Gov. Susana Martinez was in New Jersey this week to join fellow Gov. Chris Christie on a bus tour as he campaigned across the state for re-election.
In an interview with the Politico news organization, Christie said he asked Martinez to come partly because she is “an adult” who can stay on message.
The message seemed to be this:
Martinez and Christie are like-minded conservative Republican governors from Democratic-leaning states who get things done because they compromise and work with Democrats.
They aren’t like “those knuckleheads in Washington, D.C.” Those are Christie’s words.
According to news media reports from stops along the bus tour, Christie said Martinez, for now, is the only other major Republican with whom he shares the message.
“I’m sure there will be” others, Christie said. “But the people I know, that I think are carrying that kind of message right now, in the way they govern – forget about politics – the way they govern, are me and Susana Martinez.”
Martinez said this about Christie:
“He develops relationships with people on both sides of the aisle. And when he does that, he’s able to do what’s best for New Jersey and not as partisan ideology.”
She also said:
“He’s the governor of all the people of New Jersey. That’s where leadership comes from. Get rid of the politics; be a leader. And that’s what he is.”
Christie came to New Mexico to campaign for Martinez in 2010, and Christie told Politico he likes and gets along with the governor.
“I’m on the last few days of the campaign, and I really don’t want to feel like I have to baby-sit someone. And Susana is just an adult. She’s great. And she’s a team player. I trust her because I know she knows how to do this,” he said.
In another news media interview, Christie said the only other person he asked to come to New Jersey and campaign for him was former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
Martinez was accompanied by her husband, Chuck Franco, and political adviser Jay McCleskey. The Christie campaign picked up travel expenses.
Christie easily won re-election Tuesday and is openly considering a run for president in 2016. Should he run, the governor has said, he might not serve out his second term.
The appearances of Martinez on the campaign trail with Christie got political tails wagging about the possibility of them joining together on a GOP national ticket in 2016.
Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said Christie and Martinez would make a great ticket, Politico reported.
Asked whether their campaigning together could foreshadow a partnership in 2016, Christie said at a stop on the bus tour, “I have absolutely no idea. But I’m glad Susana is here.”
While in New Jersey, Martinez told the RealClearPolitics website that the election of a female president is “long past overdue” but said she is disinclined to seek the position.
Asked about joining Christie on a ticket, she told a TV reporter:
“I would support Gov. Christie in anything that he did, but I do know he is focused on being governor for New Jersey for the next four years.” Martinez also said she is focused on New Mexico.
Martinez may indeed be focused on the present, but she seems to be laying the groundwork for the future with her increasingly frequent out-of-state trips to appear at political and other events, make friends and raise campaign money.
UpFront is a daily front-page news and opinion column. Comment directly to Thom Cole at firstname.lastname@example.org or 505-992-6280 in Santa Fe. Go to abqjournal.com/letters/new to submit a letter to the editor.