New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez (R) was already confronted with an unwelcome controversy. A month ago, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported that the FBI has spent “several months” talking to Republican officials in the state about Martinez’s campaign fundraising activities. Though the Republican governor has insisted the allegations are without merit, Martinez conceded she’d already spoken to the FBI about one of her top advisors.
And now, the governor has a new political headache to deal with. The Santa Fe New Mexican reported on Friday:
[Martinez] found herself attracting a different sort of national attention Friday after the release of a recording in which she told law enforcement dispatchers that police should not investigate disturbance complaints against her group at a Santa Fe hotel.Martinez’s recorded dealings with police, dispatchers and hotel employees made her a wide target for criticism Friday. Her detractors and political enemies accused her of trying to bully other government employees to thwart an investigation.
As gubernatorial controversies go, this is an odd one. The governor recently held a holiday party for her staff at a hotel, but someone called the police about disturbances from Martinez’s room, where someone was allegedly throwing bottles from a balcony.
Audio recordings were released Friday that showed Martinez demanding hotel staff tell her who made the noise complaint and trying to discourage the police from following up.
By Friday night, the governor issued a statement expressing regret. ”I want to apologize for the conduct of my staff the night of our holiday party,” Martinez wrote. “There was apparently a party in a hotel room earlier in the night that was disruptive. Someone was also throwing snowballs from a balcony. None of that should have happened and I was not aware of the extent of the behavior, until recently. And that behavior is not acceptable.
“I also want to admit that I made a mistake when I went to speak to the receptionist and asked her about the complaint. I should not have gotten involved in trying to resolve the situation, nor should I have spoken to the dispatcher on the phone. I was wrong to speak with them like that, and I apologize.”
In the larger context, it’s worth noting that Martinez is not just another GOP governor. The New Mexican recently became the chair of the Republican Governors Association, and as we discussed a month ago, she’s also frequently mentioned as a possible VP candidate for her party in 2016. When Marco Rubio was asked about possible running mates, he specifically mentioned Martinez by name six weeks ago.
But at this point, I think it’s safe to say her audition for national office is off to an awkward start.