Inside the Capitol

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

7-16 Why is Romney ignoring us?

71612 Guv

SANTA FE – Recent word that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney might like a female vice-presidential runningmate has Gov. Susana Martinez back on stage whether she wants to be or not.
A vice-presidential poll popped up on my computer a few days ago. It had pictures of 25 possible choices listed in no particular order that I could discern. Gov. Martinez was the sixth possibility listed. Condoleezza Rice was 21st. The positioning likely means nothing but I can say that among people I talk with, Rice creates the most excitement as a possible candidate.
The poll was conducted by, which describes itself as a conservative newsmagazine. It promised to send me the polling results. That hasn't happened yet.
Perhaps more accurate than wanting a woman is the leak that Romney wants someone who will not steal the spotlight from him. Republicans' biggest fear seems to be selection of another Sarah Palin.
The Romney campaign has not seemed interested in getting a foothold in New Mexico. One reason likely is that our presidential primary is one of the last in the nation.
But even after Romney clinched the nomination he still waited over a month to start opening offices in the state. My wife just got her first fundraising letter from Romney in the past few days – a pretty good indication that his campaign here is just starting.
In 2008, Barack Obama showed the country the best political ground game in the country. He transferred all his community organizing skills into the political arena and it worked beautifully. The Romney campaign has indicated that it plans to utilize those same techniques this year.
`Will it work for Romney? Obama had a large number of highly motivated young volunteers to carry his message. Can Romney duplicate that? It's worth trying.
It still seems unlikely that Gov. Martinez will be the veep pick. She seems to genuinely not want to leave New Mexico, at this point, at least.
According to a campaign consultant for Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry in 2004, former Gov. Bill Richardson played it differently that year when he really didn't want to be picked for Kerry's running mate.
This consultant theorizes that Richardson wanted very much to be seen as being vetted for the vice presidency in order to help his planned 2008 presidential run. Richardson eventually announced he had sent a letter to the Kerry campaign telling them to remove his name from contention.
How seriously, if at all, was Richardson being vetted? The Kerry consultant gave the impression it wasn't very serious although I can say that I received a call that year from someone saying he was with the Kerry campaign. He inquired about Richardson's interest in Billy the Kid and UFOs and whether I felt it would detract from the campaign.
Besides helping with the women's vote, Gov. Martinez likely would attract Hispanic voters also. But it isn't just about having the right last name.
Hispanics are a diverse group with many different motivations. Gov. Romney has said publicly that U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida is being vetted. He is Cuban-American. The rest of the Hispanic community has no great desire to assist their return to Cuba.
Many Puerto Ricans live in Florida. They already are U.S. citizens so have no particular interest in illegal alien issues.
New Mexican Hispanics also are divided into two very distinct groups. In the North, Hispanics can trace their families back for centuries, often to the same location where they presently live. Southern New Mexico Hispanics are much more recent arrivals, mostly from Mexico.
The two groups don't share a lot in common. There have been some instances of Gov. Martinez, a Southern New Mexican, not being accepted with open arms by Northern New Mexicans.
Maybe Romney is ignoring New Mexico because he plans to select our governor as his runningmate and figures she will carry the state for him.


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