LAS VEGAS, Nev. – Gov. Susana Martinez will hold the reins of the Republican Governors Association through the 2016 election cycle, after being elected Thursday by fellow GOP governors as the deep-pocketed national group’s new chairwoman.
The vote means Martinez’s national profile will likely rise, as she’s expected to spend large chunks of next year traveling out of state to raise money and rally support for Republican gubernatorial candidates around the country.
But she insisted the increased RGA duties – which began immediately with Thursday’s election – will not distract her from her day-to-day responsibilities in New Mexico.
“It’s an honor, and it allows me to showcase New Mexico throughout the country,” Martinez told the Journal during a break from the RGA annual meeting, held at the Encore at Wynn Las Vegas hotel. “I think that’s really an amazing opportunity.”
Martinez, who had been the RGA’s vice chairwoman, is the first woman and first Hispanic to lead the GOP governors group. She was recommended for the top position by the RGA’s executive committee and elected to the post Thursday by acclamation. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who recently dropped out of the Republican presidential race, was elected the group’s vice chairman.
No other Republican governors formally announced bids for the chairmanship.