The Albuqueque Journal reported that Governor Martinez received campaign donations of $70,000 from the Downs of Albuquerque during her run for the governor’s seat. The Downs of Albuquerque won the bid for continuing to run the racetrack on the Expo New Mexico fairgrounds for another twenty-five years. We call that pay-to-play or at least the appearance of an impropriety.
Governor Martinez also appointed Garrett Hennessey, Charles "Chuck" Gara, and John A. Garcia to evaluate the bids for the contract summited by the Downs of Albuquerque. Darren White worked on the bid for the Downs of Albuquerque as a consultant. He also was appointed to the judicial standards commission by the governor, and was a strong supporter of the governor during her campaign for the governor’s seat. White resigned from his position after public outcry over an issue with how he handled his wife’s car accident. The voters have to wonder exactly what the governor considers arm’s length when it comes to state contracts.
The voters also have to wonder if all of the governor’s talk about pay-to-play only affects the Democratic Party and its elected officials. One has to ask what about the Republican Party and its elected officials. We need a grand jury to investigate exactly how close the governor was to the Downs of Albuquerque. What is the relationship between the Governor Martinez and the Downs of Albuquerque?
Local grassroots community leaders who live and work around the fairgrounds have voiced loud opposition to the Downs of Albuquerque running the racetrack because of the crime it attracts to the local area around Central. State Senator Tim Keller who represents the local communities surrounding the fairgrounds spoke out about the contract. He has been strongly representing his district when it comes to this issue. The Republican Party attacked Senator Keller with false mudslinging because of his push back on the idea of a twenty-five year contract with the Downs of Albuquerque.
Did Governor Martinez arrange for the Republican Party to attack New Mexico State Senator Keller who represents the local communities around the fairgrounds in an attempt to silence opposition to the new contract? Why is there such a rush to approve this new contract with the Downs of Albuquerque? Why does it not matter to the governor what the local communities around the fairground think about what should be approved for their communities? How is this open and honest government on the governor’s part?