Candidates take jabs at Martinez during forum

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ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – With the June primary about a month away, five democratic candidates who want to be the next governor got together this weekend.

They didn’t talk about each other; instead they spent a lot of time criticizing New Mexico’s current Republican governor.

“Gov. Martinez does not have a heart or soul for our state,” said Sen. Linda Lopez, D-Albuquerque.

Harsh words for New Mexico’s leader.

“We’re going to make Susana Martinez a one-term governor,” said businessman Alan Webber.

In front of a packed house, the five candidates fighting for the Democratic gubernatorial bid took jabs at incumbent Gov. Martinez.

“We have to have a governor who will stand up and has the fire in their belly and has the experience,” said Attorney General Gary King.

It was a chance for King, Lopez, Webber, Silver City Sen. Howie Morales, and former government administrator Lawrence Rael to tell their party and voters why they deserve to face off against Martinez.

“We’re going to have to have a candidate who’s going to come in with the opportunity to show experience, that energy and the ability to unite New Mexicans, and I’m confident I’m the candidate that can do that,” said Morales.

All five had choice words for Martinez while answering questions about mental health, minimum wage and women’s equality.

“I’m used to being the person who stands up for what’s right on behalf of women and children and families and I’ll continue to do that in this race,” said Lopez.

Reforming education was a big topic, too.

“It’s about jobs, economic development. It’s about making sure we invest in education and support our educators, and most importantly, that we bring trust back to government,” said Rael.

Jobs was also on the table.

“For the last 30 years, I’ve worked in the private sector as an entrepreneur and businessman. I’ve signed both sides of a paycheck and I know what it takes to create jobs,” Webber said.

King said he’s running for governor “to get our children out of being the worst as far as child welfare, and to get our economy up so we’re not 50th in job creation.”

All five say they’ll band together no matter who gets the nod.

Gov. Martinez’s campaign office quickly issued a statement in light of Saturday’s Democratic forum.

A spokesperson said in part: “While these politicians will descend into negative attacks filled with finger pointing and absent of constructive ideas, Gov. Susana Martinez will remain focused on moving the state forward with meaningful and substantive reforms.”

The governor is running unopposed in the Republican primary. So far, she’s winning the money race with more than $4 million in her war chest.

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