News Column

Are Martinez, Christie a Presidential Dream Ticket?

November 6, 2013

By Steve Terrell, The Santa Fe New Mexican

Republicans see New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez as part of a Republican dream ticket.
Republicans see New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez as part of a Republican dream ticket.

Gov. Susana Martinez's trip to New Jersey this week to campaign for Gov. Chris Christie has some national political pundits' tongues wagging about a 2016 Republican "dream ticket."

Martinez joined Christie at campaign stops in at least six locations Monday, the last day of the New Jersey campaign. As expected, Christie, who is considering a presidential run, won re-election Tuesday by a comfortable margin. Christie's campaign paid for Martinez's travel expenses.

While the 2016 campaign is a long way off -- and many question whether Christie can survive a GOP primary -- headlines in national online news publications fueled speculation about the future for both governors.

Business Insider published this story: "Last Night, We Got Our First Look At Chris Christie With The Woman He Might Pick For Vice President."

The blog site also included a post about the duo: "2016 preview? Christie campaigns in Hillside with New Mexico's GOP governor."

"In many ways, Martinez is the perfect complement to Christie, amplifying his strengths as a politician," Business Insider's Brett Logiurato wrote Tuesday. "She is relatively young (54) and a moderate who maintains strong popularity in a blue state. She has worked closely with a legislature held by Democrats and bucked her party by taking the Medicaid expansion in Obamacare. Perhaps most importantly, she's almost 2,000 miles removed from the poisonous politics of Washington, D.C. ... Her appearances with Christie Monday sparked a buzz in the political press that we could be seeing a preview of the Republican ticket in 2016."

John Reitmeyer, who writes for The Record, a New Jersey newspaper, wrote in a blog Monday on, "Many also viewed their appearances together on Monday as a test-drive for a possible 2016 GOP ticket. After the unpopular federal government shutdown last month -- something many polls show voters are blaming on Congressional Republicans -- Christie and Martinez are two politicians who have a record of governing, not obstructing."

Martinez and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani were the only out-of-state Republicans whom Christie invited to campaign for him.

As it has done in the past, Martinez's team downplayed the chatter about Martinez being on a national ticket.

"Gov. Martinez and Gov. Christie are good friends and she supports him because he's a strong leader who has worked across party lines to achieve real results for his state. While all the talk is flattering, Gov. Martinez is completely committed to being the governor of New Mexico and has no interest in being a candidate for national office," said her spokesman, Enrique Knell.

In an interview with Real Clear Politics' Scott Conroy in New Jersey on Monday, Martinez didn't answer directly when asked if she would consider being the GOP's vice presidential nominee. "I'm so focused on New Mexico," she said.

But it's a long way to the White House for Christie. As Kevin Brennan of The National Journal noted Tuesday, "While Christie's ability to work across party lines serves him well in New Jersey and could be an asset in the general election in 2016, it could hurt him with Tea Party supporters during the GOP nominating process."

Democrats in the Garden State blasted Martinez's visit. In a news release Monday, the state party wrote that "Christie and Martinez have a lot in common. Both governors are former prosecutors with records of abusing their official powers to reward their political allies and tank their state economies."

Some political writers in New Jersey said Martinez was there to help boost Christie with Hispanic voters. In 2010, Christie campaigned for Martinez in Roswell.

The Real Clear Politics article noted that Christie, when asked whether his appearances with Martinez could be considered as a prelude to a 2016 presidential ticket, didn't dismiss the thought. "I have absolutely no idea," Christie said at a campaign stop. "But I'm glad Susana is here."

Original headline: Martinez's tour with Christie spurs talk of 2016 ticket

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Source: (c)2013 The Santa Fe New Mexican (Santa Fe, N.M.) Distributed by MCT Information Services

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