SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez has declined to say whether she will vote for the sole Republican gubernatorial candidate in 2018 elections.

Martinez was asked Thursday at a news conference whether she will vote for Republican Congressman Steve Pearce to be the next governor. She said that she is not going to answer that question.

Pearce is giving up a firm hold on New Mexico's southern congressional district to run for governor.

Martinez cannot run for re-election in 2018 to a third term. She says the next governor will inherit a state government in strong financial shape, and that the local economy is improving.

Pearce has highlighted the need to reshape New Mexico's economy and says he is alarmed that people are leaving the state to look for work.