ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Leaked audio recordings revealed a side of Governor Susana Martinez that few people have heard. On it, she and members of her inner circle make biting, even profane comments about political opponents, a women’s group, and teachers.
They were recorded when she was running for Governor the first time around. Now, some democrats battling to oppose her in this year’s Governor’s race are demanding she apologize.
The recordings were published by Mother Jones, a liberal magazine. You can hear the Governor and her staff make offensive comments they likely never thought would be heard publicly.
“I’m so tired of that little b*** calling me a liar,” Governor Martinez is heard talking about her then-opponent Diane Denish years ago.
Old audio recordings are now making national headlines, published by what the Governor’s office calls a left-wing tabloid.
The article titled, “Is New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez the Next Sarah Palin?” paints a dramatic picture of the Governor and Sarah Palin.
But it’s her private conversations that have many people outraged. In a 2009 debate prep meeting, the Governor is heard talking to then campaign manager, Matt Kennicott about the speech of former Speaker of the House, Ben Luján. “Somebody told me he’s absolutely eloquent in Spanish, but his English is – he sounds like a retard,” Kennicott is heard saying.
Luján died from cancer in 2012. His widow, Carmen Luján, sent a statement Wednesday, saying she’s crushed, and called the remarks cruel. “I called my family in tears and felt sick to my stomach,” she said.
Kennicott, now the spokesperson for the state’s Health and Human Services department, said he was repeating a direct quote of someone else, and apologized if it hurt or offended anyone. “I was relaying this to someone in private and obviously would not have used this language otherwise, as I knew full-well that the Governor’s sister is developmentally disabled,” said Kennicott.
But one of the governor’s opponents in this election said that’s not enough. “I’m also asking the Governor to release Mr. Kennicott from his publicly funded position,” said Lawrence Rael, a democratic candidate for Governor.
In the recordings, Martinez is also heard talking about teacher’s pay, a controversial topic while she’s been governor. “During the campaign, we can’t say it I guess because it’s education, but I really keep going back to that, you know keeping the teachers from feeling the pain when they already don’t work you know two-and-a-half months out of the year, three months out of the year,” the Governor said. “But yet earn salaries the same rate people who do work 12 months a year.”
And Martinez is also heard questioning the importance of the state’s Commission on the Status of Women. “I don’t get what the hell does a commission of women’s cabinet do all day long?” she’s heard saying.
The Governor wouldn’t comment on the recordings, but a spokesman for her campaign said, “Yes, the Governor used salty language in private conversation four years ago with close advisers and will pay the appropriate penalty to the cuss jar. Governor Martinez will not be distracted by cheap political attacks and will remain focused on continuing to move New Mexico forward.”
It’s unclear where the audio came from, but her camp thinks it was sent to Mother Jones by the same people who hacked into her email. A former staffer was federally indicted for that.
Two of her opponents in this year’s race, democrats Howie Morales and Lawrence Rael, sent out statements slamming her for the comments. Rael said she should apologize.
Mother Jones was also responsible for the GOP scandal involving Mitt Romney before the presidential election. He was caught on video saying the 47 percent of people who don’t pay income tax would vote for Obama.