Latinas Will Be Front And Center In Races For Top Political Posts In Texas Next Year

Miriam Martinez, a Republican businesswoman who describes herself as a mix of Margaret Thatcher and Eva Peron, is running for governor of Texas. She opposes abortion and gun control while supporting casino gaming and the legalization of medical marijuana.

Martinez is just one of several Lone Star Latinas vying for top posts in the state's 2014 election. Tea Party activist Debra Medina has announced her candidacy for state comptroller, and San Antonio state senator Leticia Van de Putte is expected to run for lieutenant governor.

Martinez, a former anchor for a Texas Univision affiliate, now owns a local media company. She was born in Reynosa,Mexico, and became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 2010. Two years later, she ran unsuccessfully for the state legislature.

This time around, she may be facing an even steeper uphill battle.

Texas State Attorney General Greg Abbott is considered the prohibitive front-runner to win the Republican primary and to succeed Gov. Rick Perry, who is not seeking re-election.

Martinez told Lubbock radio station KFYO that she would represent a wider swath of Texans than the other candidates. “I am an immigrant in a country and a state that have been made great by immigrants and the descendants of immigrants,” she told KFYO. “I am a naturalized U.S. citizen, living, working, and raising my family in the best state in the most magnificent nation in the history of civilization.”

Some press reports have inaccurately described Martinez as the first Latina gubernatorial candidate, but Debra Medina actually ran in 2010, snagging 19 percent of the Republican primary vote against Perry and then-U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison.

Medina has announced her candidacy for state comptroller.

For her part, Leticia Van de Putte plans to make an announcement about her political future on Friday. Many people believe she'll run for lieutenant governor on the slate with presumed democratic nominee, state senator Wendy Davis.

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