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Former state president of the National Action Party Salvador Morales Riubí, in a column in Tuesday's El Mexicano newspaper, rails against losing Citizens Movement gubernatorial candidate Felipe Ruanova, who has filed a legal challenge against the victory of the PAN's Francisco Vega in the July 7 election. Morales Riubí noted that although Ruanova is a member of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, he ran under the banner of the Citizens Movement. The move was seen as a PRI ploy to draw leftist votes that otherwise might have gone to the National Action Party coalition, which included the left-of-center Democratic Revolution Party. National columnist Sergio Sarmiento called the move a success, seeing the 5.1% of the vote that Ruanova won as having helped PRI gubernatorial candidate Fernando Castro Trenti. Others are not so sure, however. Vega won by a margin of 2.7%. The column was titled "Ruanova's Contract."
Just about all Ruanova did during the Baja California gubernatorial debates was attack Vega and the PAN; Morales Riubí concluded by asking, "Why did Ruanova never criticize Castro Trenti in the debates?" (Although, truth be told, MexicoPerspective did hear Ruanova criticize Castro Trenti once.) Riubi's column, El Mexicano (PDF).
Story on second debate that mentions Ruanova's anti-PAN book.
Tijuana's weekly newspaper Zeta, which normally comes out on Fridays, will publish a special election edition Monday, the paper said.
Today's election involves a heated governor's race, elections for mayors and municipal councils in Tijuana, Rosarito, Ensenada, Mexicali, and Tecate, and elections for the 25-seat state legislature.
The governor's race involves a faceoff between the Institutional Revolutionary Party's Fernando Castro Trenti and the National Action Party's Francisco "Kiko" Vega. Castro Trenti as a federal legislator sponsored a whirlwind of legislation, and he is sometimes referred to as "El Diablo," or "The Devil," because of the machinations of his mind. Vega's signature achievement as mayor of Tijuana was Tijuana's arch; many wonder, however, why he bothered to attach to it a hanging electronic clock that has not worked. All this has caused some to joke that Castro Trenti thinks too much, and that Vega does not think enough. And a Frontera cartoon on Sunday showed two head silhouettes, saying one would be the next governor: One was in the shape of a normal head and was labeled Kiko, while the other, with devil's horns, was labeled Coco — one meaning of which is head (the literal meaning is coconut; coco is often used along with the adjective loco).
Around 6 a.m. today, someone threw an explosive device onto the property of PRI coalition municipal council candidate Leticia Castañeda, blackening a wall and ground tiles and damaging a car. Story, AFN Tijuana. Meanwhile, Archbishop Rafael Romo Muñoz had to wait an hour to vote, as his precinct opened late. Story, AFN Tijuana.
U-T San Diego's Sandra Dibble provides an excellent overview of Sunday's Baja California elections, explaining some of the enmity between Institutional Revolutionary Party gubernatorial candidate Fernando Castro Trenti and former PRI gubernatorial candidate Jorge Hank Rhon, among many other things. (In 2007, then Sen. Castro Trenti was campaign manager in Hank's defeat to now-Gov. José Guadalupe Osuna Millán, "a loss Hank’s inner circle blame Castro Trenti for failing to round up sufficient party observers for the election.")
The story also notes that new allegations this week in what has become a mudslinging race were reports that a Mexican federal court document contained testimony saying Castro Trenti's brother, Francisco, had accepted payoffs from the Arellano Félix cartel a decade ago while serving in law enforcement or working with the legal system. Francisco Castro Trenti, who became Rosarito police chief last year, denied the allegation and told Zeta newspaper that it was a last-minute electoral smear to try to prevent his brother from becoming governor. The story originated in El Universal.
The U-T San Diego election overview calls National Action Party candidate Francisco Vega, a former Tijuana mayor and federal legislator, a shrewd and persistent politician who won the PAN gubernatorial nomination on his third try.
U-T San Diego: "RACE FOR GOVERNOR HIGHLIGHTS BAJA VOTE: Candidates trade corruption accusations; voters will also choose mayors, lawmakers"
Update, July 7: U-T San Diego reports that testimony against Francisco Castro Trenti was made in a deposition reported to have been taken in San Antonio, Texas, last year of Francisco Javier Arellano Félix, who was captured off the Baja California Sur coast in 2006. Zeta said it found the line of questioning, from PAN President Felipe Calderón's attorney general's office, curious.
Update, July 7: Los Angeles Times also reports on the allegation as part of an overview on the Baja California election. The story says that in addition to statewide elections in 14 states, there also will be a by-election in Sonora state; while the story says the election is to replace a federal congressman who was killed, the vote actually is to replace a state legislator-elect who was killed in Ciudad Obregón.
Local non-coverage of allegations: The two main Tijuana dailies, El Mexicano and Frontera, did not appear to cover the story implicating Francisco Castro Trenti, although El Mexicano did run an ad, presumably paid for by the PAN, reprinting El Universal's story. Full-page ad in El Mexicano.
Zeta coverage: Zeta ran a four-page story Friday about Arellano Félix's testimony in general, noting that it implicated Ismael "El Mayo" Zambada in failed Arellano Félix attempts to kill Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán. Zeta said the story also implicated Víctor Manuel Zataraín Cedano, a top police officer in the 2004-07 administration of Tijuana Mayor Jorge Hank Rhon, and former Baja California Sur Gov. Narciso Agúndez Montaño, a Democratic Revolution Party politicians who had been jailed on corruption charges. He served from 2005-2011.
Periodismo Negro website account questioning accusations (PDF).
Political analyst Benedicto Ruiz said in his column Friday in Frontera that the National Action Party has failed at the state, national and municipal level. He said abstentionism only encourages a small group of political elites to keep running things the way they are. He cited a commission the party formed to analyze its defeat in last year's elections as saying the party has been seduced by power and money and no longer is the party of change. His column (PDF).
Baja California political analysts, looking back at the Baja California political campaign that will culminate in Sunday's gubernatorial, municipal and legislative elections, said the race quickly went from gray to black — boring to dirty.
Analyst Benedicto Ruiz said told the paper that the political attacks have overshadowed the candidates' proposals in a race in which the Institutional Revolutionary Party is seeking to end the National Action Party's (PAN) 24-year hold on the governor's post. He said having parties having coalitions imposed on them from Mexico City (the odd-couple alliance of the conservative PAN and the left-of-center Democratic Revolution Party) has caused anguish in the local electorate who did not agree with the decision.
Analyst Víctor Espinoza feared that the dirty campaign tactics will cause lower voter turnout. He also took a look at turnout in the last gubernatorial election, which was only 40%. He also said that turnout was only 31% in the 2010 mayoral elections swept by the Institutional Revolutionary Party. He told El Mexicano the race appeared to be neck-and-neck
|Baja California gubernatorial election
|Estimated migration factor in abstentionism|
Baja California's state legislature has accused the state administration of National Action Party Gov. José Guadalupe Osuna Millán of diverting at least 1.3 million pesos ($99,300) to aid the gubernatorial campaign of the PAN's Francisco Vega. Top state official Francisco García Burgos denied the accusations. Deputy Gregorio Carranza Hernández, president of the Institutional Revolutionary Party-dominated state legislature, took the charge to the Special Prosecutor's Office for Attention to Electoral Crimes. Carranza, a member of the teachers-union-allied New Alliance Party, was removed from the party's congressional leadership post in April because of his open support for PRI gubernatorial candidate Fernando Castro Trenti. New Alliance is in a coalition for the PAN in this year's election, just as it was six years ago when Osuna Millán won. Story, El Mexicano (PDF).
Natiional Action Party candidate Francisco "Kiko" Vega skipped Wednesday night's official debate in Ensenada, without saying why. He was in Ensenada on Wednesday, and when asked why he was not going to the debate, he was quoted in Frontera newspaper as saying, "I am having my debate here, my debate is with the people, because the people are in charge." He spoke at a rally to discuss aid to rural areas, ths fishing industry and Ensenada's economic development. Story, Frontera (PDF).
Vega put in a good performance at last week's debate, but the debates can be seen as a no-win situation for him, as they essentially put him up against two members of the Institutional Revolutionary Party: Citizens Movement candidate Felipe Ruanova is a lifelong PRIista who has long had it out for the PAN.
Meanwhile, the PRI presented illicit enrichment allegations against Vega from when he was mayor of Tijuana; the PAN said it would present a defamation lawsuit.
Story, Frontera (PDF).
Update, June 14: PAN seeks for a defamation charge to be filed against PRI's Nancy Sánchez for the illegal enrichment charges. Story, El Mexicano (PDF).
Update, June 15: State electoral agency considers sanctioning Vega for not appearing at debate. Story, Frontera (PDF).
U-T San Diego story: Gubernatorial debates flounder in Baja California: PAN accuses electoral authorities of favoring PRI.
National Action Party gubernatorial candidate Francisco "Kiko" Vega has decided to skip tonight's official gubernatorial debate in Ensenada, El Mexicano reported.
Meanwhile, the paper reported that Vega would not participate in the unofficial COPARMEX business group-sponsored debate in Mexicali on June 13 because it was not an official debate.
This comes after Vega put in a fairly good performance at last week's debate, despite being hit on both sides — by Institutional Revolutionary Party Fernando Castro Trenti, and by Citizens Movement candidate Felipe Ruanova, a PRIista who has a vendetta against the PAN who was given the tiny Citizens Movement's party's nomination.
U-T San Diego's Sandra Dibble writes about the Baja California elections with a story titled "Passions rise in Baja California campaigns." It talks about a shoving match between National Action Party and Institutional Revolutionary Party supporters before a Tijuana mayoral debate before going into an overall view of the July 7 election. Story, U-T San Diego.
In other instances, the parties have accommodated to each other in the election campaign. For example, this photo taken on June 1 at the Morelos monument near the racetrack shows PAN supporters leaving (foreground) after having held a rally there while PRI backers wave their flags (background). An hour later, the PRIistas were gone as well.
Update, June 11: PAN mayoral candidate Alejandro Monraz says aggressive tactics by PRIistas continue. Story, El Mexicano (PDF).
Frontera columnist Benedicto Ruiz said this week's hubbub over switching from analog to digital TV broadcasts came as the gubernatorial campaign was at a most confusing and unattractive moment for voters. He said the switch, leaving at least 14,000 homes unable to watch television, would leave too many citizens without the information they need to make their decision in the July 7 election. (The government later reinstated analog broadcasts until July 18.) The switch to digital has been dubbed the "analog blackout" and Ruiz's column was titled "Electoral blackout in Baja California."
Aside from the TV signal switch, Ruiz made five major points about the election:
First, he said there was a lot of involvement of actors from outside Baja California such as national politicians and the media, which he said was extraordinary in a sense because of how mundane the campaign seems to most Baja Californians.
Second, he talked about the electoral coalitions, particularly that of the National Action Party and the Democratic Revolution Party, where the bases of the different parties are confused by the alliances. (There are two major coalitions of four parties each in the race.) Many PRD members have said they will be backing the Institutional Revolutionary Party candidate.
Third, he spoke of the rumors he said were propagated by Mexico City journalists that the election would involve an "arranged election" deal whereby the PAN backs the national reform agenda of President Enrique Peña of the PRI in concession for the PAN keeping the governorship. The national PRI president has on various occasions said this is completely false. Ruiz said the rumors have contributed to the overall confusion and discouragement of Baja California voters.
Fourth, he said the PAN and the PRD have started a dirty campaign out of desperation that their coalition candidate will lose, which would cause the national leaders of the PAN and PRD to lose face. Ruiz said a lot of the dirty campaign is being played out in the social media.
Fifth, he said the style of the campaign has been one to avoid confrontation, and not make a mistake. He said the organization of debates has been terrible, and said the first debate this week in Rosarito, which could only be seen by the general public over the Internet, symbolized the prevailing disorder and confusion.
Ruiz's column (PDF)
Mention of Ruiz's previous column about the "lite" gubernatorial campaign
Update, June 14: Ruiz explains his dirty campaign comments in a column in Frontera; he says the PAN and PRD are trying to delegitimize the state electoral institute and the process. His June 14 column.
Institutional Revolutionary Party candidate Fernando Castro is leading in the July 7 race for Baja California governor 37.6% to 32.3% for National Action Party candidate Francisco Vega, Frontera newspaper reported (PDF). While Vega had last week claimed a poll said he was ahead, the PRI said earlier this week that its polls showed Castro Trenti ahead.
Meanwhile, federal Communications and Transportation Minister Gerardo Ruiz Esparza visited Tijuana on Thursday and called on the Federal Communications Commission, or Cofetel, to reinstate analog service to Tijuana until after the elections. The switch to digital-only TV this week has left thousands of Tijuana, Tecate and Rosarito residents without television. On Friday, Cofetel reinstated analog TV service until July 18.
The COPARMEX business group called off the debates it has traditionally held for candidates because of a scheduling dispute with the state electoral commission, Frontera reported (PDF), and the PAN coalition said it was not going to participate in any more debates because of a dispute with the commission.
Analyst Benedicto Ruiz said in his column in Frontera newspaper Friday that is has a been a month of 'lite' campaigning as the top two Baja California gubernatorial candidates apparently see no advantage in attacking the other or highlighting any strong differences between themselves. He also said the National Action Party candidate Francisco Vega had apparently decided only to participate in officially organized debates, knowing that he he would lose a verbal sparring match to Institutional Revolutionary Party gubernatorial candidate Fernando Castro Trenti.
The headline for Ruiz's column was "Un mes de campañas light," using the English word light often used to sell beer containing fewer calories (lite beer). His column (PDF).
Meanwhile, the Tijuana muckraking weekly Zeta reported in its print edition on Friday that Castro Trenti handed out wads of money during his campaign visit to Isla de Cedros. Most of the 35,000 pesos ($2,800) was to go toward making improvements to a community ballfield; some of went for a carne asada (it was not known whether any went for 'lite' beer). The online version of Zeta's story should be online at some point next week; Zeta waits to post its stories in order to boost street sales.
Both main gubernatorial campaigns for the July 7 Baja California election said this week that their candidate is ahead in the polls.
Even supposedly reputable polls have proven to be largely unreliable in Baja California elections.
On Thursday, National Action Party (PAN) candidate Francisco Vega's campaign published a full-page ad (PDF) saying the former Tijuana mayor had overtaken Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) candidate Fernando Castro Trenti (right) and now leads 40% to 37%.
The ad, using a most questionable logic, also said Baja California last year showed it was anti-PRIista 49% to 33%. It said this even though the PRI won the presidential race in the state and seven of eight directly elected congressional seats and might have won two Senate seats save for a balloting glitch. The ad did this by combining the vote percentages of all the parties in the PAN's coalition this year with how they did last year, and combining the vote percentages of all the parties in the PRI's coalition last year. The PAN is in a coalition with the Democratic Revolution Party this year in the governor's race; last year, PRD presidential candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador finished ahead of the PAN in Baja California.
In Ensenada on Tuesday, the PRI's representative in the city, Leopoldo Sánchez Cruz, said Castro Trenti was up by eight points. Story, El Mexicano (PDF).
Castro Trenti campaigned Sunday in San Quintín: El Mexicano (PDF).
National PRI leader César Camacho Quiroz says there will be no "concertacesión" allowing the PAN to win the governor's race in exchange for PAN concessions to PRI on national issues; Camacho says PRI is going for all the marbles in Baja California. Story, El Mexicano (PDF).
Previous mention of backroom-deal rumors.
Update, June 16: El Mexicano (PDF), in front page story, says there will not be an arranged election.
Tijuana's Frontera newspaper published Mother's Day stories yesterday about the three Baja California gubernatorial candidates' moms.
It interviewed Justina Trenti de Castro, 81, the mother of Institutional Revolutionary Party candidate Fernando Castro Trenti. It said she still lives in the same house it cost her and the family so much effort to buy and maintain; her part was crossing the border to work in the United States "doing difficult jobs not many liked." It said her reward was having four children who got professional degrees: Silvia Justina, Fernando, Patricia and Francisco. It said today (the day Mexico celebrates Mother's Day) was Justina Trenti de Castro's 63rd.
The paper also published stories about the mothers of National Action Party candidate Francisco Vega and Citizens Movement candidate Felipe Ruanova. Both of their mothers have died.
Story, Frontera (PDF).
Fernando Castro Trenti lauded his mother's work across the border in a November 2011 speech.
The Baja California gubernatorial campaign officially began today (Thursday), and gubernatorial candidates don't have to skirt no-campaigning rules anymore. In recent days, Institutional Revolutionary Party officials have complained that National Action Party candidate Francisco Vega's face was plastered on billboards across the state during a time when campaign advertising was prohibited; the advertising touted the latest issue of Campestre magazine, which had Vega on the cover. Then again, someone had placed Castro Trenti's initials on a big hill seen by those driving to Playas de Tijuana. Some of the billboards were partially covered up earlier this week in Tijuana, presumably to be uncovered again today (Thursday).
Last year, eyebrows were raised when Campestre plastered the state with billboards featuring then-PAN gubernatorial hopeful Oscar Vega Marín on the cover; they did not seem to help, as he later dropped out of the race for the PAN nomination. Vega Marín said that he had had nothing to do with the billboards.
Meanwhile, a Testa Marketing poll gave PRI candidate Fernando Castro Trenti a lead of 40% to 28% over Francisco Vega, while an Explora poll put the PRIista's lead at only 31% to 30% for the July 7 election. Polls on state races last year were notoriously inaccurate.
Castro Trenti also ran a full-page ad in newspapers Thursday.
Story on polls, Frontera (PDF).
Both candidates to start campaigns in Mexicali, the state capital. Frontera (PDF).
Full-page ad for Castrol Trenti, Frontera (PDF), which can also be seen at left.
Current Sen. and former Baja California Gov. Ernesto Ruffo on Monday repeated an allegation that Institutional Revolutionary Party gubernatorial Fernando Castro Trenti was detained for possession of weapons when he headed the federal fisheries agency in the state in the 1990s, Agencia Fronteriza de Noticias reported. Ruffo, governor from 1989-1995 and a member of the National Action Party, said the detentions were never made public.
The PAN has held the governor's post the past 24 years. Castro Trenti, a former senator and congressman, faces the PAN's Francisco "Kiko" Vega, a former Tijuana mayor and congressman, in the July 7 election.
On Monday, the PRI-aligned El Mexicano newspaper published a story about a political attack on Ruffo by state legislator Carlos Murguía. However, the story never mentioned the reason behind the attack, Ruffo's allegations about arms possession. Story, El Mexicano (PDF).
Top Tijuana official Antonio Cano is leaving the municipal administration to head Fernando Castro Trenti's Institutional Revolutionary Party gubernatorial campaign in the city.
His departure, and that of top financial official Rufo Ibarra as the substitute candidate for PRI mayoral candidate Jorge Astiazarán, helped show why Mexico's no re-election rules cause a great handicap for Mexican cities. Mayors generally are elected to three-year terms; Carlos Bustamante's term ends in December, but he will have to manage his last year without several top officials.
Meanwhile, former National Action Party Deputy Carlos Torres Torres, who lost to Bustamante in the 2010 mayoral race, will be heading Francisco "Kiko" Vega's gubernatorial effort in the city. Vega served as mayor from 1998-2001.
Political page, Frontera (PDF).
Francisco "Kiko" Vega won 73% of the vote to 27% for Héctor Osuna Jaime to win the National Action Party nomination for Baja California governor. Vega will face the Institutional Revolutionary Party's Fernando Castro Trenti in the July 7 election. The final vote was 7,048 to 2,567. Osuna did not win any of the state's five municipalities.
Both Vega and Osuna Jaime are former Tijuana mayors. It was Vega's third attempt to win the nomination; he lost to eventual Gov. Eugenio Elorduy in 2001 and to the current governor, José Guadalupe Osuna Millán, in 2007.
Story, El Mexicano.
Story, Frontera (PDF).
New Alliance Party legislator Gregorio Carranza broke with his party to back the Institutional Revolutionary Party's Fernando Castro Trenti for Baja California governor. Story, Frontera (PDF).
The teachers-union-linked Panal is part of a four-party coalition backing the National Action Party's candidate for governor. Other Panal members also have expressed support for Castro Trenti, as have many members of another PAN coalition partner, the Democratic Revolution Party.
The PAN is to select its candidate on Sunday. On Friday, the two contenders, former Tijuana mayors Héctor Osuna Jaime and Francisco "Kiko" Vega, held their fifth and final debate in Tecate. Story, Frontera (PDF).
More top members of the National Action Party have joined onto the team of gubernatorial hopeful Francisco "Kiko" Vega. Two of them are former state party head Salvador Morales Riubí and former congressman Carlos Torres Torres.
Earlier, Gov. José Guadalupe Osuna Millán's brother, Dr. Miguel Osuna Millán, said he was going with Vega. Miguel Osuna Millán is a former federal deputy.
Vega and the other PAN contender, Héctor Osuna Jaime, face off in a debate tonight in Mexicali. PANistas will vote Sunday to choose their candidate. Both are former Tijuana mayors.
Osuna Jaime earlier received the support of Sen. Víctor Hermosillo. That gave him the support of Baja California's two PAN senators, Hermosillo and Ernesto Ruffo. Also backing Osuna Jaime was former Gov. Eugenio Elorduy.
Story, Frontera (PDF). Story on Miguel Osuna Millán backed Vega, Frontera (PDF).
Story on Sen. Víctor Hermosillo backing Osuna Jaime, El Mexicano (PDF). Former Gov. Eugenio Elorduy backs Osuna Jaime. Story, Frontera (PDF).
Column by José Aguirre on the governor's race, Frontera (PDF). He has had a pretty good grip on what is going on.
Update, March 13: José Aguirre column on Vega's nomination (Frontera, PDF).
Tijuana National Action Party leader Enrique Méndez asked for calm Tuesday in the race for the party's gubernatorial nomination. Méndez spoke after former governor and current Sen. Ernesto Ruffo expressed support for candidate Héctor Osuna Jaime and said there did not appear to be a level playing field in Osuna Jaime's contest with Francisco Vega. Both Osuna Jaime and Vega are former Tijuana mayors. Long before the official campaign period began this month, Vega was holding mass meetings with supporters; polls show him with a wide lead over Osuna Jaime.
Meanwhile, former Rosarito Mayor Silvano Abarca Macklís said a sex harassment charge against him had political undertones as it came from the sister-in-law of PRI councilman Antonio Serret. Abarca Macklís hopes to gain the PAN coalition's nomination to run for mayor again.
Frontera also reported that it appeared that business leader Mario Escobedo Carignan had dropped out of the race for the PRI nomination for Tijuana mayor.
Stories, Frontera (PDF). José Aguirre column (PDF).
Previous mention of sex harassment charge.
Update, March 2: Candidates hold second debate, in Tijuana (El Mexicano, PDF). Story, Frontera (PDF).
The race for the National Action Party gubernatorial nomination began in earnest Friday as former Tijuana Mayor Héctor Osuna Jaime published a full-page ad and put up billboards across the state. The ad advocated more preventive health care, more and better infrastructure, clean energy and solving land-rights issues. It directed people to a website that could not be immediately accessed on Friday morning, but later came online. Osuna faces another former Tijuana mayor, Francisco Vega, for the PAN nomination.
Meanwhile, more members of the Democratic Revolution Party peeled off from the PAN-PRD coalition and said they were forming the Progressive Front to back the Institutional Revolutionary Party gubernatorial candidate, Fernando Castro Trenti.
Also, state PRI leader René Mendívil resigned his post to make a run for the party's nomination for mayor of Tijuana.
Osuna Jaime ad, El Mexicano (PDF).
Stories on PRD breakaway and Mendívil, El Mexicano (PDF).
Update, Feb. 25: Osuna Jaime holds a rally attended by 400; Vega has been holding such rallies for quite a while. Story, Frontera (PDF). Vega also launches Internet page.
Former Tijuana Mayor Héctor Osuna Jaime registered as a candidate for the National Action Party nomination for Baja California governor on Sunday, Mexican media reported. He and another former mayor, Francisco Vega, are to hold debates in each of the state's five cities in their quest for the PAN nomination. Accompanying Osuna Jaime was Gastón Luken, who had dropped out of the race two days earlier. Meanwhile, Vega held a rally in Tecate. Stories, Frontera (PDF).
Meanwhile, state legislator Max García held a rally for Vega and PAN Tijuana mayoral candidate Alejandro Monraz. Story, Frontera (PDF).
The campaign period for the Institutional Revolutionary Party nomination for Baja California governor and other state and local offices will be from Feb. 22 to April 5, PRI Secretary General Ivonne Ortega announced on Twitter. Ortega is a former governor of Yucatán state.
The general election campaign for the July 7 elections will start April 25 and end July 4.
Story, El Mexicano (PDF). Jump.
Political analyst Benedicto Ruiz, in a column in Frontera on Friday, examined the possibility of a National Action Party-Democratic Revolution Party coalition in the Baja California gubernatorial election and wondered whether it would be worth it for either party.
Ruiz said the PAN at the national level is seeking the coalition to keep the Institutional Revolutionary Party from regaining power in the state after an absence of 24 years. The conservative PAN has held the governorship since 1989, but is at a weak point in the state and nationally.
The left-of-center PRD also wants to keep the PRI out of power and also is operating out of a situation of weakness. It has never done well in Baja California local elections and its presidential candidate, former Mexico City Mayor Andrés Manuel López Obrador, recently left the party to form his own, Morena. López Obrador came in second in presidential voting in the state and nationally last year, behind the PRI's Enrique Peña Nieto and ahead of the PAN's Josefina Vázquez Mota.
Ruiz said the PAN has not distinguished itself much during its 24 years in power. He noted that the PAN and PRI in recent years have formed coalitions to oust the PRI from governorships, not to keep from gaining ones in states where the PRI has been out of power.
Also, many Baja California members of the PAN and PRD in Baja California are not interested in a coalition.
The National Action Party and the small Baja California State Party (Partido Estatal de Baja California) announced a coalition for the July 7 gubernatorial election on Tuesday, El Mexicano reported. An agreement with the Democratic Revolution Party could be announced as early as today. The PAN is also looking into a coalition with the New Alliance Party of teachers union leader Elba Esther Gordillo. Her support played a role in the 2007 gubernatorial win of José Guadalupe Osuna Millán. Story, El Mexicano (PDF).
Update, Jan. 24: PRD President Jesús Zambrano visits Tijuana and says the PRD will not make the candidacy of former federal Deputy Gastón Luken a condition for a PAN-PRD coalition. Luken represented the PAN in Congress from 2009-2012, although he is not a member of the PAN. He also worked for the PRD-led Mexico City governments of Mayors Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas and Andrés Manuel López Obrador. López Obrador has left the PRD to form his own party, Morena. Story, El Mexicano.
Zambrano said he did not meet with PAN President Gustavo Madero, who also was in Tijuana on Wednesday for a meeting of PAN federal legislators. The only PANista to win a directly-elected Chamber of Deputies seat, Juan Manuel Gastélum, said he thought the PRD would wind up supporting his candidate, former Tijuana Mayor Francisco Vega. Gastélum represents the district that Luken represented. Picture of Madero arriving at hotel.
PRI leader meets gubernatorial aspirants in Mexicali.
The Institutional Revolutionary Party was to hold municipal meetings Tuesday in Baja California in advance of a state process to choose its gubernatorial candidate. The National Action Party also was to hold a meeting of its national legislators in Tijuana beginning Tuesday.
The national head of the PRI, César Camacho Quiroz, was to visit Baja California this week. He met last week with Baja California gubernatorial aspirants, including former Tijuana Mayor Jorge Hank Rhon and federal Deputy Fernando Castro Trenti.
Update, Jan. 24: Camacho meets with the aspirants in Mexicali on Wednesday. They get their picture taken together, and Camacho says one will be the next governor of the state. Story, Frontera (PDF).
Political analyst Víctor Espinoza says the PRI-Green Party-Social Encounter Party alliance points to Castro Trenti being the candidate. Espinoza's column, Frontera PDF).
The National Action Party and the Democratic Revolution Party will form a coalition for the July 7 Baja California election, El Mexicano reported.
The PRD was to make an announcement about the agreement today, and PAN President Gustavo Madero is to visit Tijuana for a PAN parliamentary group meeting, El Mexicano reported.
Last month, a number of Democratic Revolutionary Party politicians expressed interest in backing Fernando Castro Trenti were he to be the Institutional Revolutionary Party's candidate for governor.
Update, Jan. 21: Abraham Ortega Santana, representing the national PRD, says at a gathering of the Grupo 21 in Tijuana that a PAN-PRD coalition was 80% negotiated. Ortega said he had spoken with PRD members who had said they backed Castro Trenti and said at least some of them had agreed to reconsider their positions.
Update, Jan. 23: In an interview with Reforma newspaper, PRD President Jesús Zambrano indicates that the PRD is seeking coalitions with the PAN this year for election in 11 of the 13 states holding elections this year. In three of the 11 states, the PRD finished second in presidential voting last year: Baja California, Hidalgo and Zacatecas. It got the most presidential votes in Oaxaca, Puebla, and Tlaxcala. It finished third in presidential voting in Aguascalientes, Coahuila, Durango, Sinaloa, and Veracruz. Baja California is the only state with a gubernatorial election. The other two states holding elections this year are Quintana Roo, where the PRD finished first, and Tamaulipas, where it finished third.
Meanwhile, PAN President Gustavo Madero arrived for the PAN legislators' conference in Tijuana. Photo: Could the PAN be on its way back up? Madero (left) rides up escalator with fellow PANista Luis Rodolfo Oropeza after arriving at Camino Real Hotel in Tijuana on Wednesday, Jan. 23.
More on Madero visit above.
Human rights activist and political analyst Sergio Aguayo said Wednesday that he saw the selection of the Institutional Revolutionary Party candidate for governor of Baja California this year as an important test for President Enrique Peña Nieto, Mexican media reported.
Speaking to the Coparmex business association, the Colegio de México professor said the country would see whether Pena Nieto's discipline or Deputy Fernando Castro Trenti's autonomy carries more weight in Baja California. Castro Trenti is seeking the PRI nod for governor, as is former Tijuana Mayor Jorge Hank Rhon, who lost the state's last gubernatorial race to the National Action Party's José Guadalupe Osuna Millán in 2007. Tijuana Mayor Carlos Bustamante also is mentioned as a possible PRI candidate.
A major test of Aguayo's thinking will be to find out what candidate Peña Nieto would like to back.
Story, Frontera (PDF).
Cuauhtémoc Cardona, a federal congressman from 2000-2003 who once served as a top aide to Gov. José Guadalupe Osuna Millán, has dropped out of the race to succeed Osuna Millán and joined forces with gubernatorial hopeful Francisco "Kiko" Vega.
Vega served as Tijuana mayor from 1998-2001; his main opposition for the PAN nomination is Héctor Osuna Jaime, mayor from 1992-1995. Also in the race is Gastón Luken, who represented the PAN in the federal Congress from 2009-2012, even though he had not formally joined the PAN.
Frontera also reported that more than 1,500 PANistas gathered for a "café con pan" (coffee with bread) event with Vega (right) over the weekend in the Mariano Matamoros area of eastern Tijuana. Among those in attendance was former federal Deputy Carlos Torres Torres (2009-2012). Both Cardona and Torres were once members of the Toastmasters Ejecutivos de Tijuana speaking club in the 1990s.
Cardona joins up with Vega, Frontera (PDF).
"Café con pan" story, Frontera (PDF).
Update, Jan. 18: A Focus poll published as a full-page ad says 67% of PANistas plan to vote for Vega and 22% plan to vote for Osuna Jaime. The ad, in El Mexicano (PDF). The ad, in Frontera (PDF).
Analyst Benedicto Ruiz on race for PAN nomination for governor.
December: Three PAN candidates for Tijuana mayor back former Mayor Francisco Vega for governor. Poll narrows number of PAN gubernatorial contenders.
July-August: Maneuvering for PAN nomination begins.
Former Mexicali Mayor Milton Castellanos Gout told El Sol de Tijuana that he thought federal Deputy Fernando Castro Trenti (right) had won the hearts of the Institutional Revolutionary Party's main groupings in the state of Baja California and should be the party's nominee for governor this year.
Also seeking the PRI nomination is former Tijuana Mayor Jorge Hank Rhon (left), who lost the 2007 general election to José Guadalupe Osuna Millán, the National Action Party politician who must leave office this year. Also mentioned as possible aspirants for the PRI nomination are Tijuana Mayor Carlos Bustamante, Mexicali Mayor Francisco Pérez Tejada, Ensenada Mayor Enrique Pelayo, former Ensenada Mayor Daniel Quintero Peña (who lost the 2001 gubernatorial election to the PAN's Eugenio Elorduy), and former federal deputy Humberto Lepe Lepe of Mexicali.
Last week, analyst Benedicto Ruiz had a thoughtful column about the governor's race in Frontera newspaper. Ruiz said the PRI certainly has to be favored in a race for a post the PAN has held for 24 years. Elections have been tilting the PRI's way in the state recently: 2010 elections put PRI mayors in charge of all five of the state's municipalities and the state legislature. In 2012, the PRI's Enrique Peña Nieto won the most presidential votes and the PRI won seven of the state's eight directly elected Chamber of Deputies seats. Ruiz said the PAN is in the worst shape it has been in the state since first winning the governor's post in 1989.
Some maneuvering took place over the weekend, as Hank's Caliente Group sponsored Three Kings Day events in Tijuana and Castro Trenti attended a separate Three Kings Day celebration.
Ruiz said the endorsements Castro Trenti has won and his extensive groundwork make him the likely favorite. Although some think the soccer championship won in December by the Tijuana Xolos soccer team sponsored by Hank's Caliente Group could give Hank the impetus to victory, Ruiz is not so sure that Hank's nomination would be good for the PRI. Still, he indicated that the final determination would be made by the PRI's national committee and President Peña Nieto in conjunction with the state PRI. Ruiz does not mention it, but Hank carries a lot of baggage: one of his bodyguards killed a journalist in 1988, he was arrested on illegal weapons possession charges in 2011 (and then released) and said after his release that he had been unable to renew his visa to cross the border. Does Mexico want a border governor who cannot visit the United States?
Ruiz also examined the PAN race for the gubernatorial nomination, which appears to have come down to a contest between former Tijuana mayors Héctor Osuna Jaime (1992-1995) and Francisco "Kiko" Vega (1998-2001), whose terms sandwiched Osuna Millán's (1995-1998). Ruiz said Vega appears to have an advantage because he has the support of many PANistas who have served in various PAN governments and see Vega as their only chance of keeping or obtaining government jobs. Ruiz said Osuna Jaime appeared to represent a purer, earlier form of the PAN that sought to greatly distinguish itself from the PRI. Ruiz indicated that Osuna Jaime would have a better chance of obtaining the general populace's vote than Vega would.
Ruiz concluded by saying the election involves "a battered PAN that can still get back on its feet, and a PRI that could let its greatest opportunity to retake the state government pass by."
Ruiz's column (PDF).
December 2012: PRD officials back Castro Trenti.
December 2012: Confederation of Mexican Workers backs Castro Trenti.
December 2012: Poll narrows PAN field for governor.
December 2012: Newscaster Joaquín López-Doriga sees Castro Trenti getting nod.
Oct. 2, 2012: Sen. Marco Antonio Blásquez says Workers Party would form coalition with PRI for 2013 Baja California governor's race — if Castro Trenti is the coalition candidate.
March 1, 2012: Castro Trenti, Hank's wife assured of winning at-large federal deputy seats.
November 2011: Castro Trenti celebrates 56th birthday.
July 2011: Will contest for PRI gubernatorial nomination be a race between a Lamborghini and a Rolls Royce?
See more stories below.
More Democratic Revolution Party officials came out over the weekend to back Fernando Castro Trenti for governor if the Institutional Revolutionary Party nominates him.
Among those attending a media conference were PRD electoral representative Luis Alberto
Castro; PRD electoral representative
López; Artemio Olvera Cantera, a founding member of the party in Tijuana; party member Federico
Barreto Acevedo, also the secretary general of the Independent Central of Farmworkers and Peasants
(la Central Independiente de Obreros Agrícolas y
Campesinos, or Cioac); Gustavo López Gamboa, Saraith González and Luisa Romero, party organizers in eastern Tijuana; and Cecilia Sánchez Díaz and Amelia Rivera Encinas, organizers in Tecate. Héctor Medrano, who organizes for the Green Party in eastern Tijuana, also attended. Story, Frontera (PDF).
Update, Jan. 12: PRD official Abraham Ortega says there is no possibility of a PRD-PRI coalition for governor. Story, Frontera (PDF).
In July, there was a lot of talk about the National Action Party and the Democratic Revolution Party forming an alliance in next year's Baja California gubernatorial race. Now, however, some top PRD leaders are saying they are behind the candidacy of federal Deputy Fernando Castro Trenti of the Institutional Revolutionary Party. Among the leaders are Julio Rodríguez, who represents the PRD on the state electoral institute, and Rosarito councilman Guillermo Torres Urbalejo. Story, Frontera (PDF).
However, the state PRD has taken no formal position on a candidate, said PRD state committee member José Luis Pérez Canchola, a former state human rights ombudsman. Story, Frontera (PDF).
Federal at-large Deputy Fernando Castro Trenti, who is seeking the nomination of the Institutional Revolutionary Party for the 2013 Baja California governor's race, received the endorsement of the leadership of the Confederation of Mexican Workers on Saturday at the confederation's state convention in Mexicali.
Castro Trenti, who recently ended a six-year stint in the federal Senate, last year drew wide union support at his annual state-of-the-Senate address.
Castro Trenti does not hold a lock on the labor vote, however. Other unions back former Tijuana Mayor Jorge Hank Rhon, who also seeks to be governor. Hank won the PRI nomination in 2007 but lost the general election to José Guadalupe Osuna Millán, who became the fourth straight National Action Party politician to be elected governor. Osuna Millán cannot run for re-election.
In a full-page ad in El Mexicano on Sunday, the national and state CTM also congratulated President Enrique Peña Nieto for the pact he arrived at two weeks with the two other main political parties, the National Action Party and the Democratic Revolution Party. Full-page ad (PDF).
Many Baja California analysts think the PRI is a virtual lock to win the governor's race next year, after sweeping the state's mayoral races in 2012, winning a plurality in the state in the state in the presidential race and nearly sweeping the state's directly elected deputy races this year. The only reason the PRI did not win at least one federal Senate seat was because of voter confusion.
Update, Dec. 17: Columnist Sergio Sarmiento writes (PDF) that the national soccer championship sponsored by Hank's Caliente Group could help Hank win the governor's race, particularly as the Xolos have won statewide support. Meanwhile, last week, TV journalist Joaquín López-Doriga wrote in his "En Privado" column that it appeared that Castro Trenti would get the PRI nomination. Many think that Peña Nieto will determine who the PRI candidate is, and López-Doriga wrote that Hank does not fit Peña Nieto's style.