At the Los Angeles Times, "New Mexico's Latina Gov. Susana Martinez makes waves in the GOP":
SANTA FE, N.M. — In 2010, New Mexico's Susana Martinez made history, being elected the nation's first Latina governor. Since November, she's made waves, criticizing Mitt Romney for the harsh rhetoric of his presidential campaign and chiding fellow Republicans for actions that, she says, have needlessly estranged Latinos from the GOP.Yeah, a change in tone and rhetoric, caving to the Latino lawbreaking crowd, no doubt. The freaks.
"We have to make sure that as Republicans we don't just visit Latinos during election time, but that we make them part of the solution," Martinez said in an interview. "It's extremely important that we elect people that look like the population they serve."
Martinez is a strong favorite for reelection in 2014. Beyond that, the former prosecutor and Democrat-turned-Republican is touted as a potential U.S. attorney general or even vice president in a future GOP administration.
But here at home, some question Martinez's ability to advise her party, much less serve as a role model for Republicans grappling with their poor image among Latinos.
The doubts point to the highly charged politics surrounding immigration and related issues and underscore the challenge Republicans face as they try reaching out to Latinos without antagonizing the party's conservative base, as well as supporters who resist any easing of the GOP's hard-line stance.
Martinez has advantages other Republicans can't easily match, including a charismatic personality, a compelling up-by-the-bootstraps history and the benefit of running in a majority-minority state where Latinos have been an integral part of the power structure for decades.
"She can go into rural Hispanic areas and tell [her] story and impress a lot of people," said Brian Sanderoff, New Mexico's leading independent pollster. "It's a lot easier for a female Hispanic Republican to pull off than a middle-aged white guy, frankly."
But Martinez has also been a surprisingly divisive figure. Though she enjoys strong public approval ratings, she has a contentious relationship with Democrats in Santa Fe, the state capital, as well as with many Latino activists, who accuse her of scapegoating Latino newcomers and exploiting anti-immigrant sentiments for political gain.
"It's one thing to talk about changing tone and rhetoric," said Marcela Diaz, head of Somos Un Pueblo Unido, a group that has waged protests against Martinez and opposes her efforts to repeal the state law allowing illegal immigrants to get driver's licenses. "We'd like to see a change in tone and rhetoric, accompanied by action."
RELATED: At The Hill, "Sen. Rubio: Obama has ‘poisoned the well for people’ on immigration reform." (At Memeorandum). Well, the left has poisoned just about everything these days, so immigration's not going to be any exception.