McALLEN — Former Univision personality Miriam Martinez, who launched a quixotic and ultimately unsuccessful campaign for Texas House District 41 last year, announced Monday that she’s gunning for Gov. Rick Perry’s job.
Martinez, 40, owns a small media company that caters to Mexican clients and hosts a Spanish-language talk show called “Red Hot Texas Politics with Miriam Martinez” on KIRT-AM. Before running for District 41 last year, Martinez was perhaps best known for her broadcast work on Univision and an interview with the San Antonio Express-News about her extensive cosmetic surgery.
“I’m your Hispanic Margaret Thatcher,” Martinez said. “Half Eva Perón and a little touch of Madonna.”
Tough competition — Perry hasn’t said whether he’ll run for re-election and Attorney General Greg Abbott has signaled he intends to run regardless — doesn’t concern Martinez, a political newcomer who didn’t register to vote until November 2011.
“I don’t see Abbott as a threat. I don’t see Perry as a threat,” Martinez said. “The difference between them and myself is I’m Martinez. And there are more Martinez in Texas than Abbott and Perry.”
Texas’ Hispanic population, though, tilts toward Democrats. Martinez switched to the Republican Party last year for the District 41 race.
“I am a Republican. I am truly a Republican,” Martinez said. “I believe in God. I believe in small business. I believe in job creation. I believe that children can pray in school.”
In the Republican primary, Martinez’s biggest challenge probably won’t be Abbott or Perry. Instead, Martinez must convince voters she’s actually a serious candidate.
After registering to vote, Martinez jumped into Rio Grande Valley politics last year.
Martinez missed the District 41 special election’s filing deadline, allowing attorney Bobby Guerra to win the contest by default. Guerra also demolished Martinez in November, earning about 62 percent of the nearly 34,000 votes cast.
Even by Valley standards, Martinez ran a negative campaign.
Martinez alleged that Guerra used illegal drugs, accused Guerra of approving “his law firm’s parties with a woman ‘sex slave,’” and approved a radio ad that stated “Bobby sues firefighters and opposes the police.”
The most bizarre attack involved a YouTube video on abortion that juxtaposed Guerra’s picture with images of Adolf Hitler and a Ku Klux Klan rally.
On Monday, Martinez said the campaign for District 41 was just a warm-up for the 2014 governor’s race.
“Have you ever had a dream?” Martinez said. “Why do you think I wanted to announce my candidacy on Martin Luther King Day?”
Dave Hendricks covers McAllen and general assignments for The Monitor. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and (956) 683-4452.
Follow Dave Hendricks on Twitter: @dmhj