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Martinez: Will she or won’t she?

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — It’s a parlor game played by those in the know (and those who would like to think they’re in the know) for months, even years, leading up to a presidential election: Who’s running?

Fox News Channel’s Greta Van Susteren’s most recent handicapping on Gov. Susana Martinez’s chances for the presidency or vice presidency, in which she argues that how well Martinez does in her re-election will influence her odds of getting on a national ticket, have continued to fan the rumors-of-higher-office flames for the first female Hispanic governor.

New Jersey Gov. and Martinez BFF Chris Christie’s recent bridge troubles have also brought new energy to the handicapping. And a Sarah Palin for President website recently analyzed 2016 and concluded that Palin/Martinez would be a winning ticket.

So maybe it’s time for a look back to at the evolving history of how Martinez has explained her lack of interest in going to Washington:

Gov. Susana Martinez's sister, Lettie, and husband, Chuck Franco, accompanied the governor to the state Capitol for her State of the State speech last month. Martinez has said her sister is one of the reasons she won't leave New Mexico.(Albuquerque Journal File)

Gov. Susana Martinez’s sister, Lettie, and husband, Chuck Franco, accompanied the governor to the state Capitol for her State of the State speech last month. Martinez has said her sister is one of the reasons she won’t leave New Mexico.(Albuquerque Journal File)

In December 2010, after she was elected governor but before she took office, Martinez was reminded in an interview of the Bill Richardson scenario, that almost immediately after he was elected governor he started laying a framework for moving on to higher office. Here she was, not even inaugurated and already there was speculation she would be a candidate for vice president.


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“The next four years for me are here in New Mexico,” she promised.

Richardson’s mantra before he jumped onto the national stage was also, “I am here to stay.” He said it the day after being elected in 2002, then went on to be vetted as Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry’s running mate in 2004. After he was re-elected to a second term on Nov. 7, 2006, he formed a presidential exploratory committee in January 2007.

When Martinez was first asked about whether she would consider joining the Mitt Romney team, she talked about how little girls had been excited by her election and seemed to look up to her as a role model.

“What’s important is if I don’t do this right, then what are they going to think of me and the path that I’ve paved for them? So I have to do this right.”

Since then, on that topic at least, she has been Governor No.

In December 2011, to the New Mexico Watchdog:

“Absolutely not. I’m committed to New Mexico. I have to do this job right. As governor I have been asked to make some very positive changes in New Mexico and that is my No. 1 commitment for four years. And at that point we decide whether we run again or not. But I am focused on being governor for four years.”


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In April 2012 to the Las Cruces Sun-News: “I’m totally, completely focused on being governor and fulfilling my promises. It’s humbling, but I’m not interested.”

To the Journal at the same time she issued the same denial but for a different reason – care considerations for Lettie, her older sister in Las Cruces who is developmentally disabled: “The family has to be a consideration, and for me to take (my sister) to Washington would be to separate her from … the family that’s down there, and that would be devastating.”

To Newsweek on the same Romney ticket speculation in May 2012: “No. Absolutely no.”

Romney picked U.S. Sen. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin to balance out his ticket and lost the 2012 election. Now, speculation turns to 2016.

During a speech in Lakewood, N.J., on the stump for Christie last November, Martinez said:

“I’m the first female Hispanic governor in the country. There are a lot of little girls watching, and because there are a lot of little girls watching, I can’t walk away from a position not having accomplished the things I said I was going to do.”

Earlier in the summer, Martinez made one of her strongest denials ever that she would relocate to Washington, D.C. Martinez told KRQE-TV that keeping Lettie in Las Cruces, where she is comfortable, is paramount: “I have to make sure that Lettie is happy,” she said. “Lettie is 56 years old, and if she lives for 20 years, Lettie and I will live here in the south for 20 years.”

To the question posed by the Washington Examiner in early December about considering being vetted for the vice presidency in 2016, Martinez said, “Nuh-uh,” and shook her head “no.”

They say a week is a lifetime in politics and 2016 is a long ways away, but by my count Martinez has now answered the question in the negative with long sentences and short sentences and a one-word sentence, with discursive personal stories about little girls and her older sister, and with a two-syllable grunt and the gesture of a mime.

Can we please stop asking it?

UpFront is a daily front-page news and opinion column. Comment directly to Leslie at 823-3914 or Go to to submit a letter to the editor.