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Martinez: No apology due over recordings

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Gov. Susana Martinez told reporters Thursday that no apology is in order for private comments made in old recordings reported by Mother Jones magazine, including Martinez’s cursing about her 2010 opponent.

“Do you want to apologize for what you said?” a reporter asked the governor after a business awards event at Isleta Pueblo.

“No,” Martinez said. “What was said was out of frustration. What I said was in a private conversation, and it was never intended to be public. … I’m certainly not proud of swearing. … I’m just very passionate about the work we were doing and are doing, and so … no, it’s just something that happened.”

The 4-year-old recorded comments published by the magazine include Martinez calling 2010 opponent Diane Denish a “little bitch” and a staffer saying, without rebuke from Martinez, that then-state House Speaker Ben Lujan “sounds like a retard.”

Martinez defended the campaign staffer, Matt Kennicott, for the remark about the since-deceased House speaker. Kennicott, now spokesman for the Human Services Department, has apologized for the remark but said he was relaying someone else’s opinion.

“I know that these are not sentiments that Matt Kennicott feels,” Martinez said. “I know that for a fact. I don’t think it was appropriate to be said, but it was not a sentiment being communicated by Mr. Kennicott himself.”

Sharing the wealth: As they head toward the exits, a pair of outgoing state lawmakers are making sizable campaign contributions to colleagues and legislative hopefuls.

Rep. Henry “Kiki” Saavedra, D-Albuquerque, reported giving $15,000 from his campaign account to three Democratic-leaning political committees.

He also gave $2,400 to the campaign of his son, Randy Saavedra, who is running for his father’s House District 10 seat.

Meanwhile, House Minority Leader Donald Bratton, R-Hobbs, reported giving $16,000 to 15 GOP candidates, including several in swing districts.

Saavedra and Bratton are two of the 10 incumbent House members who are not seeking re-election this year.

State law prohibits candidates from “cashing out” their campaign accounts upon retirement.

Allowable options include giving the money to charities, other candidates or the state’s general fund.

Big backers: Democratic gubernatorial candidate Howie Morales has landed a whopper of an endorsement – the backing of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 18.

AFSCME has roughly 11,500 members across the state and is one of the state’s largest labor unions.

Morales, a state senator from Silver City, is a former teacher and current hospital administrator – though he’s on leave from that job – who is seeking the Democratic nomination in a crowded five-way field.

Alan Webber, Gary King, Linda Lopez and Lawrence Rael are the four other Democratic candidates.

Morales was also endorsed this year by the American Federation of Teachers-New Mexico, the state’s largest teachers union.

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