As has been widely reported this morning, the conservative Republican governor of New Mexico, Susana Martinez, has suddenly developed an urgent and unexplained need to stay in her home state on Saturday May 7 and, thus, will not be headlining the North Carolina GOP convention in Greensboro. This is from an article in Santa Fe’s New Mexican newspaper:
“For about two weeks, the North Carolina Republican Party touted plans by New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez to speak at its state convention next month. On Monday, however, a Martinez spokesman said she won’t be going to the Tar Heel State.
Unlike Bruce Springsteen and Cirque du Soleil, who earlier this month canceled performances in North Carolina to protest a controversial law recently signed by the governor there, Martinez did not call off her appearance as a protest, spokesman Chris Sanchez said. Instead, he said, ‘She has a scheduling conflict and will be in New Mexico that day.’
A law signed last month by North Carolina’s Republican Gov. Pat McCrory makes it illegal for transgender people to use public restrooms that don’t match the gender they were assigned at birth. It also also stops local governments from extending civil rights protections to gay and transgender people.
The law has prompted various cities, including Santa Fe, to impose restrictions on taxpayer-funded travel to North Carolina and caused executives of major corporations to call on that state to repeal the statute.
The New Mexican late Friday broke the news about the governor’s plans for the North Carolina speech. At that time the convention agenda on the party’s website listed “Dinner with Gov. Susana Martinez” on Saturday, May 7. An April 5 post on the North Carolina GOP’s Facebook page said, “Join Gov. Susana Martinez at state convention this year! You won’t want to miss it!”
By Monday afternoon, the party’s convention agenda no longer listed Martinez’s name in connection with the dinner event, though it was still mentioned in another section of the website. A spokeswoman for the North Carolina GOP couldn’t be reached for comment Monday.”
Perhaps the “scheduling conflict” is legit, but given the way HB2 has been chasing off businesses right and left and the fact that other GOP governors like South Carolina’s Nikki Haley and Georgia’s Nathan Deal have declined to get behind similar proposals in their states and the fact that Martinez’ name has been bandied about as a possible GOP veep candidate, it seems quite likely that she is taking the opportunity to join a growing list of conservative Americans to, in effect, boycott North Carolina. It will be interesting to see what Martinez is actually doing on May 7.
As they look for a replacement speaker, perhaps state GOP officials should follow my colleague Chris Fitzsimon’s recommendation from earlier today:
— Fitzsimon (@Fitzsimon) April 19, 2016