SFR has obtained an email sent to Republicans last month by "John Fremont," presumably a pseudonym, which urges party insiders to reject the "cronyism" of Gov. Susana Martinez' top political advisor, Jay McCleskey.
McCleskey runs Gov. Martinez' reelection committee, as well as Susana PAC, which is a separate political action committee, and most recently, Reform New Mexico Now, a super PAC McCleskey tried to establish under the radar before the June primary elections. He also heads McCleskey Media Strategies, a consulting firm that cashed in on the unlimited super PAC money this year and also worked directly with candidates. His wife, Nicole McCleksey, is a partner at the Republican polling firm, Public Opinion Strategies, which also saw hefty revenues from Republican PACs. In 2010, Gov. Martinez named her as the deputy chairman of the governor's transition team.
"Jay McCleskey’s politics of destruction are hurting this party, undermining our principles, and standing in the way of our future," writes the author. "It’s time to reject Jay. Reject his politics. Reject his polling. Reject his methodology. Reject his cronyism."
SFR could not confirm the identity of the author--nor the author's party affiliation. But it did confim with Republican officials that they had received the email.
"I’m writing as a concerned fellow Republican," writes the author, "who wants nothing more than for strong Republicans to win elections to help Susana Martinez enact her reforms."
The email accuses McCleskey of isolating Gov. Martinez from the rest of the party "for his own personal schemes" and having her campaign "ONLY for candidates from whom he stood to benefit either personally or financially."
Linking to an SFR article, "How the Southwest Was Won," the author of the email writes, "Take a look at this article to learn more about McCleskey’s big pay-day this year."
"Another problem?" the author writes, linking to another SFR article. "It's illegal for a consultant to work directly with a candidate, and also on the PAC that works on their behalf. It's called 'coordination' and, Jay's guilty of it."
SFR has an email out with McCleskey to respond to the letter's allegations and will update this post if we hear back from him.
-Justin Horwath and Peter St. Cyr contributed to this report.
Read the email here:
I’m writing as a concerned fellow Republican who wants nothing more than for strong Republicans to win elections to help Susana Martinez enact her reforms.
Winning elections takes a strong and united Republican Party of New Mexico. It takes a Party with the resources to build a strong grassroots network that collaborates to help every single candidate up and down the ballot.
This year, unfortunately, the resources that should have been used to build our state party were diverted directly in to the bank accounts of Jay and Nicole McCleskey.
It’s time we faced the facts: Jay McCleskey has hijacked the Republican Party to personally enrich himself, leaving our county offices with nothing but crumbs.
The result? A weakened party infrastructure without the means to get out-the-vote.
<> -- it’s time to stop Jay McCleskey.
Together, Jay and Nicole McCleskey took home more money than the annual operating budget of our state party. And while they were raking in the cash, the Republican Party of New Mexico was losing big.
If you add together the fees Jay made from Reform NM, Susana PAC, and Safer NM PAC, along with his monthly retainer for the dozens of candidates he recruited, his commission for mail and TV media placement, and the money paid to Nicole for polling –JAY AND NICOLE MADE OVER a million dollars this year.
- We lost CD-1.
- We lost CD-3.
- We lost the U.S. Senate.
- We lost the Presidency.
- We lost several judicial appointments made by either our governor or our State Central Committee, including two very qualified Bernalillo District Court judges, a Court of Appeals judge, and a State Supreme Court judge.
- We lost the Las Cruces D.A.’s office, previously held by our governor.
- We even lost seats on the House (which we were supposed to finally take back!)
Take a look at this article to learn more about McCleskey’s big pay-day this year:
Even worse, Jay has isolated our governor for his own personal schemes, guided her to campaign ONLY for candidates from whom he stood to benefit either personally or financially.
It began in the spring, when Jay used our governor to campaign for his candidate in a contested primary election – dividing our party. He even put our governor’s life at risk to do it by flying her to a rally on a faulty single-engine plane that nearly crashed!
In the Jennings/Pirtle race (where Jay made most of his money this year) Jay encouraged our governor to attend multiple rallies for the 27 year-old Cliff Pirtle. And yet, Jay had our governor almost completely ignore our CD-1, CD-3 and U.S. Senate candidates (until nearly the last minute).
In fact, Jay kept our governor so isolated this year that she did not even know the name of Jefferson Byrd, our CD-3 nominee. I’ve heard that Jefferson had to introduce himself to our governor— at least twice.
I believe in our governor and know that she can and will reform our state. But when she is isolated by political operatives to the point where she doesn’t even know who our congressional candidates are – that’s a problem.
Another problem? It’s illegal for a consultant to work directly with a candidate, and also on the PAC that works on their behalf. It’s called “coordination” and, Jay’s guilty of it. Just read this for more: http://www.sfreporter.com/santafe/article-7081-too-close.html
By so closely associating ourselves to Jay and his wife’s polling, we’re putting the future of our party at risk. Do we really want to let Jay destroy our party’s credibility and our governor’s future with a campaign finance scandal? We're already on our way, unless we put real distance between ourselves and his illegal tactics.
When someone who cares only about making money takes over our party, we get:
<>, it’s time for us to reclaim our integrity and our moral high-ground. If we don’t, we deserve what’s coming.
- A governor who involves herself in divisive primary campaigns.
- A governor whose political consultants keep her isolated, and disengaged from the party.
- An underfunded and weakened Republican Party grassroots organization.
- Failed races.
- Political retribution directed at loyal Republicans.
- Political cronyism instead of real leadership
Remember: this is OUR party, not Jay and Nicole McCleskey’s cash cow.
Jay McCleskey’s politics of destruction are hurting this party, undermining our principles, and standing in the way of our future. It’s time to reject Jay. Reject his politics. Reject his polling. Reject his methodology. Reject his cronyism.
Here’s what we can do:
Remember: this is our party. Let’s take it back.
- Tell our governor that BOLD CHANGE begins with DUMPING JAY and NICOLE MCCLESKEY
- Tell her to start leading based on principle, not Jay's politics
- Refuse to donate to Jay’s PACs. Donate directly to our state party instead.
- Encourage candidates to refuse Jay’s “help”.
- Tell our party to stop hiring Nicole McCleskey for polling. It’s wrong anyway.