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New Mexico Telegram » Featured, Presidential » Johnson: Martinez as running mate would be “Palin-esque”

Johnson: Martinez as running mate would be “Palin-esque”

Gary Johnson may not have meant it as an insult, but it certainly comes across as one.

The former New Mexico governor told Politico that if Mitt Romney picked Susana Martinez as running mate on the Republican presidential ticket, it would be a “Sarah Palin-esque” pick.

Palin was, of course, the disastrous pick of Sen. John McCain in his unsuccessful campaign for President against Barack Obama in 2008.

“This is a Sarah Palin-esque kind of choice. She’s served as governor of New Mexico for about the same amount of time,” Johnson said. “I think there were lessons learned [from 2008.]”
If Johnson has his druthers, it’ll stay that way. The former governor said he recently watched the HBO film “Game Change” – and previously read the book – and thought the whole Palin experience reflected terribly on John McCain for choosing an underprepared running mate for political reasons.

Game Change was not kind to the choice of Palin as Vice President and to Palin herself. Palin denounced the film as fiction.

It is likely Johnson meant that Martinez, like Palin in 2008, doesn’t have the track record or experience he thinks would be helpful on a Republican ticket. But invoking the unpopular former Alaska governor has other connotations.

Johnson, it should be noted, is no longer a Republican. Johnson left the Republican Party to run for President on the Libertarian ticket.

Johnson is a former two-term governor of New Mexico (both as a Republican). He also voted for Martinez in the 2010 election over Democrat Diane Denish, though he never made a formal endorsement.

There is actually a connection between Martinez and Palin; during the stretch run of the 2010 Republican gubernatorial primary, Palin endorsed Martinez.

Though Palin’s approval ratings have not been polled in over six months, polls had shown that Palin is a very unpopular figure in American politics; an AP-GfK poll in October of 2011 showed Palin with just a 35 percent approval rating.

Martinez is an oft-mentioned choice to be Romney’s running mate because of her status as a popular Latina governor in a swing state. Most pundits put her in the second tier, behind U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, the freshman Republican from Florida.

Photo from the “Governor Gary Johnson” Flickr account.

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Matthew Reichbach has blogged about New Mexico politics since 2006. Matthew was a co-founder of New Mexico FBIHOP with his brother and part of the original hirings at the groundbreaking website the New Mexico Independent. Matthew has covered events such as the Democratic National Convention and Netroots Nation. In addition to politics, Matthew is an avid sports fan, especially of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and TV fan.

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