marco Rubio susana martinez
Current Republican presidential candidate and Florida Senator Marco Rubio (L) and Republican New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez addressing Republican National Convention a August 30 and August 29, respectively, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. Mark Wilson/Getty Images; REUTERS/Adrees Latif (photos have been edited)

Could Florida Senator Marco Rubio and New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez run together on the Republican ticket in 2016? Mr. Rubio hinted at the possibility on Thursday, according to Reuters, and it isn’t the first time that the Florida Senator has mentioned Martinez in a vice-presidential brainstorm. Turning her state red in 2016 would be tough and probably not worth a large GOP investment for its mere 5 electoral votes. No matter, says Rubio.Martinez is Mexican-American and New Mexico’s first female Gov., two potential firsts for a VP spot.

“I actually don’t believe anymore that you win a state by nominating someone” Rubio said, according to Reuter’s Steve Holland, adding that “it has to be someone who is ready to be president.”

Martinez might be ready for a cabinet post, too as NM Political Report observes.

Rubio isn’t the only candidate who has hinted at a Mexican-American pick for VP or a top cabinet post. As we reported in October, Hillary Clinton has confirmed that HUD director Julian Castro is on her shortlist.

Should potential presidential candidates try and get a Mexican-American on their ticket for 2016? There is a hunger among Chicanos for representation at a higher level of office than has been achieved so far, and it transcends party politics.

“If you’re a Mexican-American Democrat, you need to be rooting for Marco Rubio to be the Republican nominee,” says Ruben Navarrette.

The center-right conservative Mexican-American columnist spoke at a Latino Thought Makers panel in Oxnard, California, hosted by comedy writer and actor Rick Najera. The panel also featured Futuro Media Director Julio Ricardo Varela and broadcast journalist Myrka Dellanos.

“If [the Republicans] come forward with another white male, as political parties are prone to do, on both sides [....] Hillary Clinton will have no incentive to tap Julian Castro [...] unless she has to face off against a young Hispanic named Marco Rubio,” Navarrette said.

Should Republican women who want to see Martinez on the ticket root for Clinton and Rubio? In terms of ethnicity and gender politics, a Rubio-Martinez ticket would mirror the potential “firsts” of a Clinton-Castro ticket.

Martinez was widely seen as possible VP candidate for Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, but she said she was never considered. Instead, Romney chose congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, a person who looked and sounded a lot like him.

Together, they lost Latinos nationally by 63 percentage points (not to mention Wisconsin's 10 electoral votes by six points and the national election by three points and over 100 electoral votes). A 2016 ticket, Republican stratigists say, will have to use a different approach.

A Rubio-Martinez ticket might sound like a dream for Latino voters, but Martinez could also bring some baggage to the campaign. For example, Martinez campaign advisor Jay McCleskey may be the target of an FBI corruption investigation, The Santa Fe New Mexican has revealed.

No charges have been filed, let alone a conviction, but similar accusations that stopped her Hispanic predecessor, former Democratic Gov. and Bill Richardson, from winning a cabinet post in the Obama administration.

Varela says that Castro has captured the imagination of Chicano voters, crushing Marco Rubio on social media reactions during thier dueling addresses at their parties' respective political conventions in 2012.

"If you get a strong Mexican-American presidential candidate, that's Obama all over again," he said.

Under the scrutinizing lights of a presidential race, Castro too may come under fire. Until Latino candidates make it onto a ticket, though, we won’t know what even they’re capable of.

For more on the Latino vote, check out this recent podcast prouced by Futuro Media on the company's NPR show Latino USA. It documents the often overlooked political diversity that exists in the myrid Hispanic communities and chronicles the years when Republicans led Latino outreach.

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