New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez doesn’t mince words when it comes to fellow Republican and Latino Ted Cruz.
Asked what her views were of Cruz, a Tea Party favorite who launched his presidential campaign last week, Martinez said flatly that she hardly knows the Texan.
Martinez told The Associated Press on Tuesday that she had no opinion on Cruz’s recent announcement at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, that he would seek the Republican presidential nomination.
Martinez said she doesn’t personally know Cruz nor does she “follow him.”
The Republican governor’s comments come after she has worked to recruit Latino and other minority candidates to the GOP. Martinez, who is Mexican-American, also is a rising star within the Republican Party.
Cruz is Cuban-American. He is one of the most conservative members of Congress, taking hard-line positions on immigration and the Affordable Care Act, among other things.
Martinez said she expects a crowded field of Republican presidential candidates and hasn’t said who she might support.
Martinez’s name has come in previous election years as a possible vice presidential candidate.
In elections, she has done well among Latino voters — an electorate her party often struggles to win over. She gets about 40 percent of the Latino vote when she runs, which keeps her an appealing running mate for the 2016 presidential elections, experts say.
Martinez does not hesitate to express herself, letting the chips fall where they may.
In 2012, Martinez raised eyebrows when she denounced then-GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s remark that President Barack Obama won re-election because he offered gifts to minorities.
“That unfortunately is what sets us back as a party — our comments that are not thought through carefully,” she said, according to published reports.
Martinez also took issue with Romney’s support for “self-deportation,” or making life so challenging for undocumented immigrants that they would choose simply to return to their countries.
Romney, nonetheless, stumped for Martinez in her home state last year when she ran for re-election.
One prospective presidential candidate Martinez likely would support if he decides to run is New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, with whom she enjoys a unique chemistry.
Both are former prosecutors, and are viewed as moderate Republicans, although they do share conservative views on some issues, such as gay marriage.
They think highly of each other, and have made a point to make it known on several occasions.
When speaking about why he wanted Martinez, in particular, at his side during the last days of his last re-election campaign, Christie told reporters: “We get along.”
“I like to campaign with people I like,” he said. “And I like her a lot, we get along really well, so that’s one reason honestly … I’m on the last few days of the campaign and I really don’t want to feel like I have to babysit someone. And Susana is just an adult, she’s great. And she’s a team player.”
When Martinez was asked in 2012 about Christie’s opposition to same-sex marriage, she defended him, adding that she would also oppose it in New Mexico.
“I love his authenticity, I love who he is,” she told The New York Times.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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