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Thursday, October 14, 2010
Martinez Donates Controversial Contribution
By Sean Olson
Journal Staff Writer
Republican gubernatorial nominee Susana Martinez is donating $20,000 in contributions she received from former Texas gubernatorial candidate Clayton Williams Jr. to a rape victims advocacy group in southern New Mexico.
Williams, who was widely criticized for joking about rape during his 1990 campaign, gave the Las Cruces district attorney $15,000 in the past month and another $5,000 in her primary election campaign.
Martinez's campaign manager, Ryan Cangiolosi, said Martinez has fought for rape victims for more than 20 years as a prosecutor and is donating the money to a group called La Piñon to show she remains an advocate. The organization provides services and counseling for rape victims.
The Democratic Party of New Mexico and Democratic gubernatorial nominee Diane Denish's campaign spokesman sent out statements Wednesday condemning Martinez's most recent contribution from Williams.
"Susana Martinez has gone too far and needs to explain to New Mexico families how she can accept money from a man who publicly disgraced women and all victims of rape," said state Democratic Party Chairman Javier Gonzales.
Williams' 1990 quip has caused trouble for candidates before. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., canceled a fundraiser hosted by Williams during his 2008 presidential campaign.
Williams compared rape to bad weather in the 1990 remark. "As long as it's inevitable, you might as well lie back and enjoy it," Williams said
In another Martinez campaign development, Martinez is striking back against a Denish campaign advertisement that pointed out the GOP nominee's Texas roots and financial support from Texas contributors.
Martinez launched a television ad on Wednesday that replays part of a commercial in which Denish's lieutenant governor running mate, Brian Colón, says in Spanish that Martinez is a "Tejana." In New Mexico, the term can be used disparagingly to describe someone from Texas and implies outsider.
Martinez was born and raised in El Paso. She has lived in New Mexico for about 25 years.
The announcer in her ad says the Denish campaign "crossed the line."
Martinez says in the ad, "Don't let them divide us."