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Susana Martinez

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Title: Susana Martinez  
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Subject: New Mexico gubernatorial election, 2010, Sockpuppet investigations/PoliticianTexas/Archive, New Mexico, United States gubernatorial elections, 2014, John Sánchez
Collection: 1959 Births, 20Th-Century Lawyers, American Anti–illegal Immigration Activists, American Politicians of Mexican Descent, American Roman Catholics, American Women Lawyers, District Attorneys, Governors of New Mexico, Hispanic and Latino American State Governors of the United States, Hispanic and Latino American Women in Politics, Living People, New Mexico Democrats, New Mexico Lawyers, New Mexico Republicans, People from El Paso, Texas, People from Las Cruces, New Mexico, People from Santa Fe, New Mexico, Republican Party State Governors of the United States, University of Oklahoma College of Law Alumni, University of Texas at El Paso Alumni, Women in New Mexico Politics, Women State Governors of the United States
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Susana Martinez

Susana Martinez
31st Governor of New Mexico
Assumed office
January 1, 2011
Lieutenant John Sánchez
Preceded by Bill Richardson
Personal details
Born (1959-07-14) July 14, 1959
El Paso, Texas U.S.
Nationality American
Political party Republican (1995–present)
Other political
Democratic (until 1995)
Spouse(s) Chuck Franco (1991–present)
Children Carlo Franco (stepson)
Residence Las Cruces, New Mexico U.S.
Alma mater University of Texas at El Paso
University of Oklahoma College of Law
Occupation Attorney, politician
Religion Roman Catholicism
Website Official website

Susana Martinez (born July 14, 1959) is an American attorney and politician. She is the 31st and current Governor of New Mexico.[1] A Republican, Martinez was elected Governor on November 2, 2010, and was sworn into office on January 1, 2011.

Born in El Paso, Texas, Martinez is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma College of Law. After graduating from college and being admitted to the State Bar of New Mexico, she began her career as an assistant district attorney for New Mexico's 3rd Judicial District in Las Cruces in 1986, before being appointed deputy district attorney in 1992. She then ran for District Attorney for the 3rd Judicial District in Doña Ana County, New Mexico, in 1996 after joining the Republican Party and defeating her former boss; she served three terms as district attorney from 1997 to 2011.

After incumbent Governor Bill Richardson was term limited, Martinez declared her candidacy for the governorship. She won in a five-candidate Republican primary and went on to defeat the former Lieutenant Governor of New Mexico Diane Denish with 53% of the vote in the general election. She is the first woman to be elected Governor of New Mexico and the first Hispanic female governor in the United States.[2][3][4] In 2013, she was named one of Time magazine's 100 most influential people in the world.[5]


  • Early life, education and early career 1
  • Personal life 2
    • Awards 2.1
  • District Attorney's office 3
    • Assistant and deputy 3.1
      • Firing and return 3.1.1
    • Tenure 3.2
  • 2010 gubernatorial election 4
    • Primary 4.1
    • General 4.2
  • Governor of New Mexico (2011–present) 5
    • Polling and opinion 5.1
  • 2014 gubernatorial election 6
  • Political positions 7
  • Election history 8
  • References 9
  • External links 10

Early life, education and early career

Martinez was born on July 14, 1959, in El Paso, Texas. She was brought up in a middle-class family of Mexican descent. Her father, Jacobo Martinez, was a boxer for the U.S. Marines during the Korean War, and won three straight Golden Gloves titles in the 1950s. He was a deputy sheriff for El Paso County.[6] Her mother, Paula Aguirre, worked in various offices. Susana Martinez has two siblings, a sister and a brother.[6][7]

Martinez attended Riverside High School in El Paso where she was student body president.[6] An honors student, she graduated in 1977. She earned her bachelor's degree in criminal justice from the University of Texas at El Paso. While at UTEP, she worked for her father's security guard company. Martinez patrolled a parking lot of a Catholic bingo hall and has said she carried a Smith & Wesson .357 Magnum while on the job.[8] In 1981, Martinez pursued her J.D. degree from the University of Oklahoma College of Law and graduated in 1986.[9]

Personal life

Martinez met her first husband in Norman, Oklahoma, where they were both attending law school. The couple moved to Las Cruces, New Mexico, in the mid-1980s, but divorced three years later. She met her current husband, Chuck Franco, in Las Cruces, where they both worked in law enforcement. He has been a law enforcement officer for more than 30 years and served as the Doña Ana County Undersheriff. Martinez has one stepson, Carlo, who served in the United States Navy.[10]

On September 9, 2011, Martinez stated she did not know whether her paternal grandparents immigrated to the country illegally.[11] Thorough research revealed that they appeared to have followed the rules at the time and that she is a great-granddaughter of Mexican Revolutionary General Toribio Ortega.[12] On November 14, 2011, Martinez visited Cuchillo Parado, Mexico, for a celebration in honor of her great grandfather, "a revolutionary general who led a band of supporters credited as being the first to take up arms on November 14, 1910, against a decades-long dictator".[12]


  • 2008 – Heart Magazine named Martinez "Woman of the Year"
  • 2010 – State Bar of New Mexico named Martinez "Prosecutor of the Year"[13]
  • 2013 – Time magazine named Martinez to their 100 most influential people in the world list[5][14]

District Attorney's office

Assistant and deputy

Martinez was Assistant District Attorney for the 3rd Judicial District, serving Doña Ana County, New Mexico, from 1986 to 1992.[15] As Assistant District Attorney, she developed a specialty in the office of working with sexually abused children and developing a multidisciplinary team (that included help for victims) and she participated in seminars that would relate specifically to domestic violence and sexual offenses, rapes and women and children. Her first supervisor, Doug Driggers, promoted her to Deputy District Attorney.[6]

Firing and return

Martinez was later appointed as Deputy District Attorney. She helped campaign for Driggers as he was running for a third term as District Attorney. Driggers lost the Democratic primary election to Gregory Valdez, a defense attorney. Martinez was fired by Valdez shortly after his election. Valdez claims that he fired Martinez because of a specific case she handled, she had missed key timelines.[16] Martinez filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against Valdez and was awarded an out-of-court settlement of $100,000 to $120,000.[17] She later twice defeated Valdez in the general election for District Attorney with approximate 18-point and 20-point wins respectively.[6]


Martinez was first elected district attorney in the 3rd Judicial District in 1996 with nearly 60% of the vote.[18] She was re-elected three more times.

As a prosecutor, Martinez focused on cases involving public corruption and child abuse.[19] She worked to pass legislation that would expand Katie's Law. This would "require a DNA sample for all felony arrests". During her first term as Governor, she signed the expansion bill into law in April 2011.[20]

2010 gubernatorial election


With 51% of the vote in a five-way contest, Martinez won the Republican nomination for Governor of New Mexico in the primary election on June 1, 2010. Martínez defeated PR firm owner Doug Turner, State Representative Janice Arnold-Jones, Pete Domenici, Jr. (son of the former U.S. Senator Pete Domenici), and former Republican Party state chairman Allen Weh. During the primary campaign, Martinez was endorsed by former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.[21]


Martinez defeated Diane Denish, then lieutenant governor of New Mexico in the general election on November 2, 2010. One element of her platform was to secure the United States - Mexico border from illegal immigrants. Martinez defeated Denish by over 40,605 votes, she received 321,219 votes to Denish's 280,614 votes. The Martinez v. Denish race, and the simultaneous Mary Fallin v. Jari Askins race in Oklahoma, were the third and fourth cases of woman vs. woman gubernatorial races in U.S. history (since the elections of Kay Orr in Nebraska in 1986 and Linda Lingle in Hawaii in 2002). Each of the victors was the Republican woman candidate.[22]

Governor of New Mexico (2011–present)

Martínez speaking at the Medal of Honor recipient Leroy Petry's statue unveiling, June 24, 2013

When Martinez took office she set out a budget proposal for fiscal year 2012 and 2013, as well as establishing a moratorium on all state vehicle purchases until 2012.[23] She barred all state agencies from hiring lobbyists.[23][24]

On January 31, 2011, Martinez signed an executive order rescinding sanctuary status for illegal immigrants who commit crimes in New Mexico.[25]

Martinez counts among her legislative victories: "the cap on film [tax] credits; a bill that would exempt locomotive fuel from state gross-receipts tax; and an expansion of Katie's Law, which will require law-enforcement officials to obtain DNA samples from all suspects booked on felony charges". She supported and signed a bill that will "assign schools the grades of A to F based on student achievement and other factors, such as high-school graduation rates. Martinez described her push for education reforms as 'a hard-fought battle against those who continued to defend the status quo'". In April 2011, Martinez signed the expansion bill on Katie's Law.[20]

In 2012, Martinez sold the state's luxury jet, which she called "the ultimate symbol of waste and excess"; it sold for $2.51 million.[26]

As of May 2014, job losses in New Mexico had accelerated during the previous 12 months, making it just one of two states to lose jobs. For the 12 months ending in April 2014, the state reported a net loss of 4,400 jobs, according to the state's Department of Workforce Solutions. The state has been impacted by the reduction in spending and employment by the federal government. The sector lost 1,100 jobs during the period. New Mexico was 50th in job growth since Martinez took office.[27]

Martinez has said that tax cuts enacted during her tenure make the state more competitive in attracting manufacturing jobs. The state is among the finalists for a new Tesla battery plant. She also says that infrastructure investments at the entry port of Santa Teresa will generate transportation and manufacturing jobs.[27]

Polling and opinion

Martinez has one of the highest approval rating of current governors in the United States, according to a Public Opinion Strategies survey, conducted for Martinez's campaign.[28] Her approval ratings have not dropped below 60% in her tenure as governor.[29][30][31][32] In an April 2012 edition of the Washington Post, Martinez was named 8th most popular governor in the United States.[33]

As of May 2013, Martinez had an approval rating of 66%,[34][35] with more than 44% of New Mexico's Democrats stating they approve of her.[36]

A January 2014 poll conducted by Research and Polling Inc., an Albuquerque-based pollster, on behalf of Common Cause New Mexico pegged Martinez's approval rating at 55 percent.[37]

2014 gubernatorial election

On October 15, 2013, Martinez declared she would run for re-election. At the time of her announcement, she had already raised over $2.2 million in campaign contributions, nearly five times the amount of any of her challengers in the gubernatorial Democratic Primary.[38]

Martinez faced no Republican primary opposition. On November 4, 2013, Gary King was the nominee chosen by voters in the Democratic primary to challenge Martinez, he received 35% in a five-way race. Exactly one year later, on November 4, 2014, Martinez defeated King to win re-election.

Political positions

In 1995, Martinez changed her membership from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party.[39][40]

On August 29, 2012, Martinez gave a speech to the Republican National Convention where she spoke right before Paul Ryan and described her decision to switch parties. She told the story that she was taken to lunch by Republican friends who wanted her to switch parties. She stated that she was going just to be polite, but when she left the luncheon with her husband, she had changed her mind. She told the convention, "When we left that lunch, we got in the car and I looked over at Chuck and said, 'I'll be damned – we're Republicans.'"[41]

Martinez supports a balanced budget and lower government spending. She favors putting taxpayer money into a rainy day fund, and refunding taxpayers to attempt to stimulate growth.[42] Martinez is pro-life and is opposed to elective abortion.[43] Martinez is opposed to same-sex marriage, but has no record on civil unions.[44] Martinez opposes New Mexico's medical marijuana program, but has indicated that repealing the existing law is not a priority.[45] Martinez opposes portions of the Affordable Care Act, such as the individual mandate, but does not support repeal of the law in its entirety.[46][47]

Election history

Election Political result Candidate Party Votes %
New Mexico gubernatorial primary election, 2014 Republican
Majority: 67,127 (100%)
Susana Martinez Republican unopposed
New Mexico gubernatorial election, 2010
Turnout: 602,827
Republican win (new seat)
Majority: 40,605 (6%)
Susana Martinez Republican 321,219 53%
Diane Denish Democratic 280,614 46%
New Mexico gubernatorial primary election, 2010
Turnout: 122,269
Majority: 28,279 (23%)
Susana Martinez Republican 62,006 51%
Allen Weh Republican 33,727 28%
Doug Turner Republican 14,166 11%
Pete Domenici, Jr. Republican 8,630 7%
Janice Arnold–Jones Republican 3,740 3%
3rd Judicial District General Election, 2008 Republican hold
Majority: 45,098 (100%)
Susana Martinez Republican unopposed
3rd Judicial District General Election, 2004
Turnout: 60,451
Republican hold
Majority: 9,225 (20%)
Susana Martinez Republican 34,838 60%
Gregory Valdez Democratic 25,613 40%
3rd Judicial District General Election, 2000
Turnout: 29,714
Republican hold
Majority: 1972 (4%)
Susana Martinez Republican 15,843 52%
Kent E. Yalkut Democratic 13,871 48%
3rd Judicial District General Election, 1996
Turnout: 41,839
Republican win (new seat)
Majority: 7,505 (18%)
Susana Martinez Republican 24,672 59%
Gregory Valdez Democratic 17,167 41%


  1. ^ Davis, Susan. Political Trivia: New Mexico Marks a Milestone,Wall Street Journal, June 2, 2010.
  2. ^ Mariela Rosario (November 3, 2010). "New Mexico's Susana Martinez Elected the First Latina Governor in the U.S".  
  3. ^ Noreen Malone (November 3, 2010). "Susana Martinez, First Latina Governor, Will Be Tough on Border Security".  
  4. ^ "Nation's first female Hispanic governor elected". MSNBC. November 2, 2010. Retrieved September 19, 2011. 
  5. ^ a b Rove, Karl (2013-04-18). "The 2013 TIME 100: Susana Martinez". Time. Retrieved 2013-07-19. 
  6. ^ a b c d e Heild, Colleen. "Tough As Nails", Albuquerque Journal, September 10, 2010.
  7. ^ Ramón Rentería. Bossy' El Paso girl Susana Martinez a born leader"'". El Paso Times. Retrieved 2013-07-19. 
  8. ^ "Firing up the GOP: Martinez's personal story gets primetime slot at GOP convention". The Santa Fe New Mexican. Retrieved 2013-07-19. 
  9. ^ Ramón Rentería (October 24, 2010). Bossy' El Paso girl Susana Martinez a born leader"'".  
  10. ^ "New Mexico Elects State's First Woman Governor". Epoch Times. 2011-01-02. Retrieved 2012-07-16. 
  11. ^ "New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez Confirms that Grandparents Were Undocumented". Fox News Latino. September 9, 2011. Retrieved September 9, 2011. 
  12. ^ a b Johnson, Luke (November 14, 2011). "Susana Martinez, New Mexico Governor, Releases Evidence On Her Grandparents' Immigration Status". Huffington Post. 
  13. ^ "Meet the Governor", New Mexico Office of the Governor Susana Martinez, January 29, 2012; accessed November 5, 2014.
  14. ^ "Local News". The Santa Fe New Mexican. 2013-04-19. Retrieved 2013-07-19. 
  15. ^ "Susana Martinez biodata at". Retrieved 2013-07-19. 
  16. ^ Heild, Colleen (September 12, 2010). "Tough As Nails".  
  17. ^ "A game changer: DA Martinez is running for governor". Retrieved 2013-07-19. 
  18. ^ "Susana Martinez elected as District Attorney in 3rd Judicial District". July 19, 2013. Retrieved November 5, 2014. 
  19. ^ "Meet Governor Martinez". Retrieved 2012-07-16. 
  20. ^ a b "Susana Martinez - Governor of the State of New Mexico". State of New Mexico. Retrieved November 5, 2014. 
  21. ^ Miller, Sean J. Palin helps New Mexico Republican win primary, The Hill, June 1, 2010.
  22. ^ "New Mexico Governor's Race: Milestone for Women, Test of Anti-Incumbent Mood". 2010-09-28. Retrieved 2012-07-16. 
  23. ^ a b "Susana Martinez record as governor". Retrieved 2013-07-19. 
  24. ^ "Martinez bars all state agencies from hiring lobbyists". Retrieved July 19, 2013. 
  25. ^ "Martinez signs executive order rescinding sanctuary status for illegal immigrants who commit crimes in New Mexico". Retrieved 2013-07-19. 
  26. ^ "Governor Martinez Sells the State-Owned Luxury Jet for $2.51 Million". Retrieved 2013-07-19. 
  27. ^ a b "Local News". Santa Fe New Mexican. Retrieved November 5, 2014. 
  28. ^ Cohen, Micah (May 28, 2013). "Popular Governors, and Prospects for 2016". The New York Times. 
  29. ^ Governor Susana Martinez (R-NM) strong, polling 64% approval rating,, February 2013; accessed November 5, 2014.
  30. ^ Cohen, Micah (April 8, 2013). "Which Governors Are Most Vulnerable in 2014?". The New York Times. 
  31. ^ Susana Martinez has strong support,, accessed November 5, 2014.
  32. ^ "GovBeat". The Washington Post. 
  33. ^ Blake, Aaron (April 12, 2012). "The nation's 10 most popular governors—and why". The Washington Post. 
  34. ^ Martinez still enjoying high approval ratings,; accessed November 5, 2015.
  35. ^ Martinez still popular,; accessed November 5, 2014.
  36. ^ Approval ratings soar for Susana Martinez,, September 2012; accessed November 5, 2014.
  37. ^ "GovBeat". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 5, 2014. 
  38. ^ "Susana Martinez raises $2 million for re-election", Albuquerque Journal, Associated Press, October 15, 2013, Retrieved November 5, 2014.
  39. ^ Michael Haederle (2011-01-01). "A rising GOP star in Santa Fe". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2013-07-19. 
  40. ^ How to grab them, Susana Martinez shows how Republicans might one day woo Latinos, The Economist, December 17, 2011.
  41. ^ Coleman, Michael. Martinez Earns Kudos for Convention Speech, Albuquerque Journal, August 31, 2012.
  42. ^ "Susana Martinez on Budget & Economy". Retrieved 2012-07-16. 
  43. ^ "Susana Martinez on Abortion". Retrieved 2012-07-16. 
  44. ^ "Governor Susana Martinez Unmoved On Same-Sex Marriage Despite Hairstylist Protest". The Huffington Post. February 27, 2012. Retrieved 2012-07-16. 
  45. ^ Milan Simonich (January 7, 2011). "New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez to ignore marijuana law".  
  46. ^ Eric W. Dolan. "'"Gov. Martinez breaks with GOP: Parts of Obamacare 'good. Raw Story. 
  47. ^ Milan Simonich. "NM Gov. Susana Martinez bucks Republican tide and moves to expand Medicaid as part of healthcare reform". Four Corners News-Daily Times. 

External links

  • Official campaign website
  • Susana Martinez at DMOZ
Political offices
Preceded by
Bill Richardson
Governor of New Mexico
January 1, 2011 – present
Party political offices
Preceded by
John Dendahl
Republican nominee for Governor of New Mexico
2010, 2014
Current holder
United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Joe Biden
as Vice President
Order of Precedence of the United States
Within New Mexico
Succeeded by
Mayor of city
in which event is held
Succeeded by
Otherwise John Boehner
as Speaker of the House of Representatives
Preceded by
Mary Fallin
as Governor of Oklahoma
Order of Precedence of the United States
Outside New Mexico
Succeeded by
Jan Brewer
as Governor of Arizona
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