NM Telegram spoke to Maestas shortly after he landed in Kentucky.
“My goal is to emphasize to the Democratic governors that New Mexico is in play,” Maestas told NM Telegram. He repeatedly said that New Mexico is a blue state and that a Democrat should be able to defeat Republican Gov. Susana Martinez in 2014.
That Democrat just might be Maestas.
Maestas says that he has had a number of people encouraging him to run, believing that he is the one who can defeat Gov. Susana Martinez.
Attorney General Gary King has already announced he will run, while State Sen. Linda Lopez, D-Albuquerque, is all-but-in the race. Sen. Tim Keller, D-Albuquerque, is reportedly considering a run.
“The GOP is out of touch and that Martinez spent too much political capital pandering to the extremists in her party instead of helping the economy,” Maestas said.
Maestas is the Majority Whip in the state House, a position he calls the “best job in state politics” but says he will “sacrifice” that position to run for Governor if he has enough support.
In order to defeat Martinez, Maestas believes it will take more than just money — because he believe Martinez will outfundraise any Democratic challenger.
“It’s a daunting task, given the millions of dollars Martinez is going to raise,” Maestas said.
Maestas said it would take an effective ground game, hard work and winning Albuquerque and the northern New Mexico corridor that is a traditional boon to Democratic candidates in statewide races.
“I think I’m in better condition than any of the candidates mentioned [as potential candidates],” Maestas said. Maestas mentioned Attorney General King and Albuquerque state Senators Tim Keller and Linda Lopez as names that have already announced (King and Lopez) or are widely considered to run (Keller).
Maestas hails from an Albuquerque state House district and his parents are from Las Vegas, New Mexico.
Maestas made the trip to Kentucky for a Democratic Governor’s Association meeting. Maestas says there will be a handful of Democratic governors as well as top fundraisers at the meeting.