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Josefina Vázquez Mota, in a visit to Tijuana on Friday, said she was confident that she will not lose her big lead in the polls and will win the National Action Party's presidential nomination Feb. 5.
She said she was ready for a debate with former interior minister Santiago Creel and former finance minister Ernesto Cordero prior to the Feb. 5 vote.
Local PANistas said that although it appeared that President Felipe Calderón has been backing Cordero, Cordero is so far behind that no political machinations will be able to bring him the nomination during the Feb. 5 nationwide vote by PANistas.
Among those now backing her campaign are the widow, brother and sister of the interior minister who died in a helicopter crash in November. Gloria Cossio de Blake and Emma and Eduardo Blake Mora joined with Vázquez Mota on Friday.
Photo, from left: Emma Blake Mora, Gloria Cossio de Blake, Josefina Vázquez Mota, Eduardo Blake Mora.
Before he died, Interior Minister Francisco Blake Mora had been providing support to Vázquez Mota, even though his former boss, Gov. José Guadalupe Osuna Millán, had come out in support of Cordero.
Vázquez Mota, in a press conference, said she strongly backed the candidacy of anti-kidnapping activist Isabel Miranda de Wallace for mayor of Mexico City. The national PAN leadership imposed her candidacy; last year, Vázquez Mota opposed PAN nominations from on high.
More, including video, on Vazquez Mota's support of Isabel Miranda de Wallace.
Vázquez Mota, who has held the Cabinet posts of minister of social development and minister of education and more recently coordinated the PAN bloc in the Chamber of Deputies, appeared at a media conference flanked by former Baja California governors Ernesto Ruffo (left) and Alejandro González Alcocer (right). González Alcocer is a federal senator; Ruffo hopes to succeed González Alcocer in the post this year. There is no re-election of legislators nor of the president in Mexico. Ruffo, elected governor in 1989, was the first opposition governor elected in Mexico during the 1929-2000 presidential reign of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI. PRI candidate Enrique Peña Nieto enjoys a big lead in the polls for the July 1 general election, although Vázquez Mota indicated that one recent survey gave her the lead.
José León Ramos, a former head of the PAN in Tijuana, said Friday that he thought Vázquez Mota would win July 1: "Men have not proved to be good for governing in Mexico and (in part as a result) Mexico is going to have a presidenta (female president)," he said.
Vázquez Mota expressed support for Calderón's war on organized crime and said those who opposed battling criminal groups in many ways had their heads in the sand. She said the drop in violence in Tijuana, which she attributed in part to cooperation among the three levels of government, is an example for other areas of Mexico. She also called for life sentences for officials who cooperate with organized crime.
Vázquez Mota calls for life sentences for officials who collude with organized crime
Vázquez Mota discusses new death toll numbers
After meeting with many PAN leaders and holding the media conference at the Marriott Tijuana on Friday afternoon, Vázquez Mota gave a speech at the PAN headquarters in Tijuana on Friday night and flew to Sonora state.
Update, Jan. 26: Columnist Jorge Fernández Menéndez says that officials in Sonora state, now run by the PAN, appeared to threaten functionaries with the loss of their jobs if they did not vote for Cordero on Feb. 5. His column, in El Mexicano (PDF).
On her flight in to Tijuana, Vázquez Mota just missed meeting up with former Tijuana Mayor Jorge Hank Rhon and his wife, María Elvia de Hank, both of the Institutional Revolutionary Party. Item on political page, El Mexicano (PDF).
Former Tijuana Mayor Jorge Ramos, who is working in Vázquez Mota's campaign, wore a Vázquez Mota jacket on Friday. Ramos' comments on Vázquez Mota in December.
Frontera's story on her visit (PDF).
Account of her visit on Frontera's political page (PDF).
Front page, El Mexicano (PDF). Jump.
Page 2, El Mexicano (PDF).
Frontera's Sunday account of her visit (PDF). Jump.
Sunday's political page (PDF).
Ernesto Ruffo, Josefina Vázquez Mota, and Alejandro González Alcocer