Gov. taking aim at two Democratic leaders of state legislature
Posted at: 09/24/2012 6:29 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, Eyewitness News 4
Governor Susana Martinez is taking aim at two Democratic leaders of the state legislature, hoping to convince voters to boot them out of office in this fall's general election.
The Republican governor's political action committee has sent out fliers attacking Senate President Pro Tem Tim Jennings of Roswell. The flier said that if the governor is for it, Jennings is against it, and goes on to enumerate high-profile votes where Jennings has voted against the governor's agenda. That includes her attempt to halt the state from issuing drivers licenses to illegal immigrants.
Jennings, a rancher-farmer-businessman, has represented his Roswell area district for more than 30 years. He presides over the Senate with the support of all the Republican senators in a coalition with moderate Democrats.
"What you're going to see is some prominent Republicans in that Jennings district come out in favor of him because he's a conservative Democrat," said politics blogger Joe Monahan of joemonahan.com. "They don't see the sense in going after him because on just about all of their issues he votes conservative, not 100%, but enough to keep them satisfied."
The governor's team is supporting 26-year-old Republican challenger Cliff Pirtle against Jennings.
Martinez is also targeting Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez of Valencia County, a Democrat who is more liberal than Jennings and a staunch opponent of much of the governor's agenda. In that race, Martinez is backing Republican Rep. David Chavez of Los Lunas.
"We've had gridlock in Santa Fe for the first couple of years of the Martinez administration," Monahan said. "If these two races are any indication, we're going to have more gridlock, because if Sanchez and Jennings both win as we expect, they're not going to be in much of a happy mood to make compromises with the governor."
The governor has demonstrated a willingness to take on political risks plenty of times. Before the Republican primary in June, she forced out incumbent Sen. Clint Harden of Clovis, but backed the loser in the race to replace him.