Third Annual Basque Fry Speaker Lineup



Governor Susana Martinez

Susana Martinez was sworn in as governor of New Mexico on January 1, 2011, she is New Mexico’s first female governor and the first elected Hispanic female governor in U.S. history. Prior to serving as governor, Martinez was a prosecutor for 25 years. In 1996, she was elected District Attorney for the Third Judicial District in Doña Ana County, New Mexico. She was subsequently re-elected three times, holding the position for 14 years, where she personally prosecuted some of the toughest cases, such as physical and sexual child abuse and child homicide. She was twice named New Mexico’s “Prosecutor of the Year.”

Governor Martinez was named by TIME Magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the world in 2013, and honored by Hispanic Business magazine as “Woman of the Year” in 2011. She has also earned national recognition by the non-partisan Tax Foundation and the Council on State Taxation for reforming the state’s tax code to be fairer to taxpayers and small businesses.

Governor Martinez is married to Chuck Franco, who concluded a three-decade career in law enforcement as the Doña Ana County undersheriff. Her stepson, Carlo, is a veteran of U.S. Navy Special Operations. Governor Martinez is the caretaker of her older sister, Lettie, who has cerebral palsy and is developmentally disabled.

Susana Martinez was re-elected as Governor of New Mexico on November 4, 2014.



Matt Schlapp

On June 19, 2014 the board of the American Conservative Union unanimously voted to elect Matt Schlapp as the ninth Chairman of the nation’s oldest and largest conservative grassroots organization. From 2001 to 2005, Schlapp served as President Bush’s political director during the re-election and previously as his deputy political director. During the 2000 presidential campaign he was a Regional Political Director with oversight of Missouri, Arkansas, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Kansas, and Oklahoma.

Schlapp left the White House to run the Washington, DC offices of Koch Industries, a company headquartered in his hometown and known for their philanthropy to free market causes. Schlapp’s Congressional experience began during the historic Republican wave of 1994 where he served Representative Todd Tiahrt (R-KS) as Chief of Staff for 5 years. During Schlapp’s tenure, Tiahrt averaged an ACU rating of 98%. Schlapp sits on several non-partisan and corporate boards including: The Hugo Wall School at Wichita State University, The University of Kansas Washington Intern Program, the 60Plus Foundation, Voter Gravity, and is an emeritus board member of the St. John Vianney Theological Seminary in Denver and the National Association of Manufacturers. He is also a member of the Order of the Knights of Malta. Schlapp’s political activism first took root at the University of Notre Dame, where he started a conservative student magazine. He is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame (B.A.) and Wichita State University (M.P.A.)

Matt and his wife Mercedes have five young daughters and are founding partners of Cove Strategies, a legislative, communications and political consulting firm. The Schlapps are parishioners of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia.


Coverage From The First Annual Basque Fry 


“Cowboy hats and boots were the norm, many emblazoned with American flags, or with the stars and stripes spelled out in rhinestones. The location was picked strategically: Nevada is a large state, but since almost all of it’s population is located in Clark County, candidates often don’t make it out to the more far-flung areas of the state. Corley Ranch, near Lake Tahoe, drew voters from all of those areas. According to event organizers, Republicans from all 17 counties bought tickets to attend the sold out event.”

“Laxalt is Basque, and his grandfather, former Senator Paul Laxalt, a legendary political figure in Nevada, used to hold Basque Fries when he was in office. This event continued that tradition.


“Four Republican presidential candidates rallied hundreds of voters at a Basque-themed barbecue in Nevada on Saturday, a sign the state is coming into its own as a relatively new hotspot for campaigns.”

“About 1,500 people, many wearing plaid shirts, cowboy hats and boots, noshed on chorizo and Basque stew while taking in speeches from retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, former tech CEO Carly Fiorina, Sen. Ted Cruz and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.


“More than 1,500 people flocked to Gardnerville on Saturday for one of the biggest gatherings of 2016 presidential candidates in Nevada since campaign season started.

“Attorney General Adam Laxalt’s Morning Nevada PAC hosted the first Basque Fry featuring five GOP contenders on the Corley Ranch southeast of town.”

"Republican heavyweights from Nevada deemed the barbecue a success."


“Attorney General Adam Laxalt, along with the Nevada Republican Party, Douglas County Central Republican Committee and Nevada Federation of Republican Women, resurrected an event once hosted by Laxalt’s grandfather, former Nevada governor and U.S. senator, Paul Laxalt.”

“Both Republican Assemblyman Jim Wheeler and state Sen. James Settelmeyer, who both represent Douglas County, said they were pleased with the inaugural event and the candidates who made appearances.”

“This is a phenomenal event. I credit Adam for reinvigorating this event,” Wheeler said. Settelmeyer said the guests appreciated the opportunity to see the candidates at the Basque fry. “… I’m glad to see many of the top tier candidates,” Settelmeyer added.

“For the weekend both lawmakers agreed Gardnerville was the center of presidential politicking for a day.”

“Overall, Rural Caucus Chairman Wes Rice said the Basque fry was an outstanding event that attracted candidates willing to mingle with the crowds and guests from every county in Nevada. “We had friends from Elko here and Mineral and Esmeralda counties,” he added. “We have a lot of volunteers from Carson City and Douglas County. I’m impressed with the rural effort.”


"The event, hosted by Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt, was designed to honor Laxalt’s Basque heritage and the shepherding traditions of the group, many of whom emigrated to and settled in northern Nevada."

“We wanted to bring as many candidates here, and let every day Republican voters from around the state meet everyone,” said Laxalt…"


“It was a uniquely Nevada affair, with the foothills of the Sierra Nevada towering across the valley to the West.”

“Many here said they haven't decided who among the 17 GOP contenders they will back in the Nevada caucus, but all gave high marks to the event organized by state Attorney General Adam Laxalt's Political Action Committee, Morning in Nevada, PAC.”

“It was a first-of-its-kind presidential contest forum held in Nevada, where every GOP candidate was invited to talk with voters one-on-one.”

“ … the event was a spectacular success, showing how much Nevada matters.” - Jon Ralston