As the chaos of this Republican primary season continues, it is important not to forget the possibilities of a vice-presidential running mate for a Romney, Gingrich, Santorum or Paul ticket. Although conservatives have shown a lack of enthusiasm for the current candidates, the strength of the Republican Party for this cycle has been their bench. Republicans get bored with Romney, but are exuberant about New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
They look the other way when Paul is mentioned but love Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. Eyes roll over with Gingrich's fiery rhetoric, but hold the words of South Dakota Sen. John Thune in the highest of esteem.
People still want the Indiana governor to run for president to instill his budget-cutting ways to the White House. He would also be a good VP choice as would Sen. Rob Portman from Ohio who has a similar budget cutting background as Governor Daniels. And Michigan Governor Rick Snyder could be another possible VP choice for the GOP.
A controversial choice for VP this time around could be the feisty Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer. However, there's another Republican player on the bench from out west that conservatives may want to consider: Gov. Susana Martinez of the great state of New Mexico. With a tough image, Hispanic background and Palin endorsement, this Republican gem will help make the party shine after the primary dust settles. Named "Woman of the Year" and "Prosecutor of the Year," she portrays the image of a tough and competent yet cheerful leader.
Governor Martinez, 52, totes the GOP party line with all of the major social issues. She's opposed to any elective abortion and supports parental notification for minors of 13 years of age or younger that are seeking an abortion. She's also opposed to same-sex marriage as well as medical marijuana. These simple marks on the conservative checklist don't differentiate her from her Republican colleagues. However, there are some significant policies that may make her stand out from the pack.
Early into her first term, Governor Martinez signed an executive order rescinding sanctuary status for illegal immigrants who commit crimes, but protect victims and witnesses of criminal acts from immigration prosecution. This is a solid attempt to provide "rule of law" and security in a world that often times is shy of government interaction. Governor Martinez is also seeking to remove access to state driver's licenses for illegal immigrants as a way to confront issues of organized crime and border security. In an even tougher stance than her Texas neighbor Gov. Rick Perry, Governor Martinez is seeking to deny the New Mexico Lottery Scholarship, a grant that covers most tuition costs to New Mexico High School graduates that attend state universities, to the children of undocumented immigrants.
Governor Martinez also possesses the big dreams that so far seem to encompass this Republican primary. Since taking office in 2011 in a heavily Democratic state, she has been promoting investment into New Mexico's "Spaceport America" that will be the first commercial aircraft to carry passengers beyond our atmosphere. This is nothing new, but her twist is the promotion of private investment over government investment, something that will surely strike a chord with conservative and Tea-Partiers alike. If Gingrich plans on following through with his "moon colonies" then he might want to choose a running mate with similar interests. Especially if his running mate can fund his future space odyssey travels through private channels.
Recently Governor Martinez signed an anti-corruption bill that would allow judges to impose financial penalties on public officials convicted of corruption and make their pensions as well as benefits vulnerable to seizure. This bill sends a message to a state that has a history of corrupt practices by its elected and appointed officials. In a political season where many on the right see government as corrupt, as the vice presidential candidate Martinez's tough anti-corruption stances will excite the Republican base. Governor Martinez is also married to a retired police officer, Chuck Franco, who served more than 30 years in the State of New Mexico. Franco is an avid hunter and fisher and former game warden. His history in law enforcement will easily impress conservative voters throughout the country.
Martinez is from a normally Democratic state. She is a Hispanic with a tough law and order image. She is from out west. She seems to be in step with the conservatives of the GOP on the key social issues of the day. Her tough image may be what the Republicans are looking for in 2012. She certainly has to be better than their 2008 VP choice!
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