It’s just one sign, among many others, that the Republican establishment is figuring out that it needs Hispanic voters on its side if it has a prayer of winning the 2016 presidential election: Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey is heading to New Mexico to campaign for Susana Martínez, the governor of New Mexico. Christie, who heads the Republican Governors Association (RGA), will spend some time in the state with Martínez, who is well positioned for reelection in a Democratic-trending state.
According to the Santa Fe New Mexican, former vice president Dick Cheney will also be stomping around the state to campaign with Martínez. And the paper adds that Martínez, “seen as a possible pick for vice president in 2016,” will be auditioning with other possible GOP 2016 standard-bearers, too:
Next week, Martinez is headed for Chevy Chase, Md., to attend a re-election fundraiser at which “honored guests” include several potential 2016 GOP presidential candidates, including U.S. Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Marco Rubio of Florida, U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, vice chairman of the Republican Governors Committee.
In late 2013, of course, Christie and Martínez—both establishment-minded GOP governors in blue states—were often mentioned together as possible 2016 running mates. The Atlantic, noting that Martine had campaigned with Christie in 2013 during his re-election effort, headlined its piece in November: “Chris Christie-Susana Martinez: Is This Your 2016 Republican Ticket?” And the San Antonio Express-News headlined: “Christie-Martínez could be strong 2016 ticket,” adding:
Is it possible that the winning ticket for Republicans in 2016 was on display during the New Jersey gubernatorial campaign? The pairing has a nice ring to it: Christie-Martínez.
That was before Bridgegate, of course. And Republicans who want to curry favor with Hispanic voters nationally are facing a very, very steep uphill climb. Any idea that simply nominating a Hispanic woman is enough to corral lots of Hispanic votes ignores the fact that on substance the Republicans have alienated immigrants by their refusal to move forward on reform—not to mention reactionary Republican views on issues that matter to Hispanics, such as healthcare reform, job creation, the minimum wage and a host of other issues. Plus, this week President Obama reached out to San Antonio to pick its mayor to lead the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.
It is, of course, the second time a Democratic president did exactly that: picked the mayor of San Antonio to run HUD. (In the 1990s, President Clinton picked Henry Cisneros, who’d been San Antonio’s mayor from 1981 to 1989, for the job.) Obama is calling on Julián Castro—the current mayor, who also has Cisneros’ backing—and he’s already being talked about as a possible running mate for Hillary Clinton in 2016. According to The New York Times, Castro is dropping plenty of hints that he might want the job: “Whatever happens in the next two years to eight years, I’ll have time,” says Castro. Adds the Times: