Gov. Susana Martinez made a campaign stop last Wednesday in Tucumcari to promote the candidacy of Angie Spears, who is running for state Senate.
Spears is running against Pat Woods for the Republican spot in District 7, which covers Curry, Quay and Union counties. The June 5 primary is essentially the election, with no candidate in the Democratic primary.
"One of the things that impressed me about Spears is her values," Martinez told an audience of more than 100 at the Tucumcari Convention Center.
The governor said people are tired of the same things going on in Santa Fe and Spears is a candidate who will not go along with the "business as usual" politics.
"I will fight for our way of life when I get to Santa Fe," said Spears, a clinical director for TeamBuilders Counseling in Clovis.
Martinez said Woods opposes education reform and repeal of a law that allows illegal immigrants to have New Mexico driver's licenses. She has said repeatedly that Woods supports liberal candidates who oppose conservative agendas.
In an interview after the event, Martinez said she is not concerned that supporting a candidate during the primary stage may create factions within the Republican Party in eastern New Mexico.
"I think what is important is that we get legislators in Santa Fe who will do the work of the people," Martinez said. "You can tell who someone is by who they support. I am supporting Angie Spears because of her values."
Woods said he could not believe what the governor had said.
"Why would she say those things," said Woods, a Curry County rancher. "What would give her an indication of where I stand on the issues?"
Woods said he has spoken publicly and has posted on his campaign website that he is against issuing driver's licenses to illegal immigrants.
Senate Minority Floor Leader Stuart Ingle said Tuesday he would not take a position in the District 7 Senate race or any other race in the June 5 primary.
"The election of any candidate should be left up to the voters," Ingle said.
But Ingle said he has spoken to Pat Woods, and Woods' views are the same as the governor's when it comes to taxes and education reform and the issuing of driver's licenses to illegal immigrants.
"He (Woods) is a businessman and just from speaking with him I know he'd support reform legislation," Ingle said.