After cruising to an easy reelection for a second term, New Mexico governor Susana Martinez earned another accolade when she was elected Friday to serve as vice chairman of the Republican Governors Association.
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam will assume the overall chairmanship, the RGA also announced.
“The results Governor Martinez has achieved provide a solid foundation for New Mexico’s future, and I know she will have the same record of results as vice chairman of the RGA,” outgoing RGA Chairman, New Jersey Governor Christie said in a press release. “She is fighting every day to make the tough decisions and move her state forward, and I have no doubt her leadership at the RGA will be vital to the success of our new governors-elect and candidates in 2015.”
Martinez responded with praise for the RGA and mentioned the overwhelming number of Republican governors currently holding office following this year’s midterm elections.
“The RGA is the most impactful political organization in the country, and I’m honored to serve as the group’s vice chairman as we enter 2015 with 31 Republican governors, the most for either party in 16 years,” Martinez said. “Republican governors offer the ideas and solutions that are moving America forward, and I’m enthusiastic to work with Governor Haslam to continue the RGA’s proud record of success.”
Martinez, the nation’s first female Hispanic governor, proved earlier this month that she is in that small circle of Republicans who can generate a strong level of Latino support — she maintained a comfortable lead over her opponent in what's traditionally a Democratic-leaning state.
Martinez made history four years ago by becoming the nation's first female Hispanic governor and the first woman elected governor of New Mexico. She's considered a rising star in a party that's searching for ways nationally to appeal to Hispanic voters.
Her RGA election boosts the governor's national political standing, but Martinez maintains she's uninterested in national office or in becoming a vice presidential running mate. She has pledged to serve the full four years of her second term to fulfill campaign promises of improving schools and the economy.
The kind of appeal Martinez has been able to sustain among Latinos and voters who are not registered Republicans are qualities the GOP has indicated it would like in a presidential candidate in 2016.