It seems that Gov. Susana Martinez may be the new face of the conservative anti-Donald Trump movement. Establishment Republicans and even the head of one of the Super PACs backing Trump either defended Martinez or criticized the Republican presumptive nominee. Tuesday night during an Albuquerque rally, Trump slammed Susana Martinez. He cited facts that unemployment went up (though he said it doubled), that food stamp usage skyrocketed and that she allowed Syrian refugees to relocate to the stage “in large numbers” (when in reality just four Syrians have been relocated in the state). He also cited numbers from 2000, ten years before Martinez became governor.
With the tremendous failure of the Jeb Bush presidential campaign—from frontrunner to dropping out after failing to win a single state—the political press is already digging through the campaign’s carcass. And with that comes blame over campaign leadership, which includes campaign manager Danny Diaz, who was a part of Susana Martinez’s two successful gubernatorial campaigns in New Mexico. The biggest criticism of Bush’s campaign was the inability to deal with the rise of Donald Trump as a significant political force. This led to a host of other problems for Bush, including an inability to connect with voters and an inability to turn the race to topics that would be better for Bush’s strengths. A Washington D.C. lawyer who donated six figures to a Super PAC that supported Bush laid the blame directly at the feet of Diaz.
The FBI has interviewed several Republicans in the state over fundraising activities related to Gov. Susana Martinez’ top political advisor, the state’s second largest daily newspaper reported Friday night. Related Story: Former official: FBI asked about issues in Martinez administration. The Santa Fe New Mexican cited an unnamed “prominent New Mexico Republican” that had been interviewed and said others had been interviewed about activities from Martinez’s political wing. The report came hours after a reporter for CNBC tweeted about the news. The newspaper notes that the money went to Jay McCleskey, who was Martinez’s campaign manager and has run a number of campaigns for Republicans in the state.
A campaign strategist that worked on both successful Susana Martinez gubernatorial campaigns will head a Republican presidential campaign. The Wall Street Journal first reported on the shakeup that has Danny Diaz as the campaign manager for Jeb Bush. The change took place even before the former Florida governor officially launches his presidential campaign. Bush is expected to join the crowded field seeking the Republican nomination soon. This isn’t the first or only connection between Bush and Martinez.