Susana Martinez hires ‘GOP’s Ambassador of Ill Will’
Republican gubernatorial candidate Susana Martinez has hired one of the most well-known GOP public relations professionals in the business to run her campaign’s communications operation, a source close to the campaign confirmed.
Danny Diaz was communications director for the Republican National Committee last year. Before that, he served as deputy communications director for John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign. Diaz spent a lot of time in New Mexico in 2003 and 2004 as the southwest regional press secretary for the Bush/Cheney 2004 re-election campaign.
He was once dubbed by TIME Magazine as the “GOP’s Ambassador of Ill Will.” In its December 21, 2007 article, the magazine wrote that Diaz described his job as an “ongoing and daily effort to ensure that both sides of the story are told.”
From the article:
“When it’s pointed out that at least 99% of the e-mails he sends to reporters are highlighting stories unflattering to Democrats, he laughs and says, with mock solicitousness: ‘I can certainly package and send you information we put on the web about the President’s speeches.’ It is the job of the RNC communications team, he admits, to ‘provide information to further a story line that is detrimental to our opposition.’ Of course, the Democratic National Committee has someone doing the exact same thing; what distinguishes Diaz is the obvious pleasure he takes in a job that is largely about spreading ill will.
“‘In this job, with the hours and the intensity level, you have to be able to have some fun or else you’re not going to last very long,’ says Diaz…”
Diaz started his own consulting firm in February, according to the Washington Post. The source close to the Martinez campaign said Diaz will direct communications for the campaign from Washington, where his office is located.
Diaz isn’t the only big gun Martinez has hired since she entered the race in July. Handling direct mail and paid media for the campaign will be consultants Jay McClesky and Adam Feldman of Lincoln Strategy Group’s New Mexico office. McClesky was the RNC’s regional political director for four years, overseeing operations in 10 states including New Mexico. Feldman was the state GOP’s director for a time in 2008.
Martinez has also hired Las Cruces native Jamie Estrada as acting campaign manager. Estrada was a deputy assistant secretary of commerce in the George W. Bush administration and, before that, worked for Intel.
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