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By David Gaddis Smith, MexicoPerspective
Eligio Valencia of the Institutional Revolutionary Party finally admitted defeat in the Baja California Senate race in a full-page letter published Monday in his newspaper, El Mexicano. The Senate seat was won by the Progressive Movement's Marco Antonio Blásquez by 242 votes.
Valencia said that while he really won the Senate race, he was conceding.
His letter (PDF).
His argument that he won is based on tens of thousands of Baja Californians having marked their ballots for the PRI and for the Green Party, thinking the two parties were in coalition for the Senate race. While the parties were in coalition in the presidential and federal deputies' races, they did not field joint candidates in the Senate race. Thus, all ballots marked for both parties in the Senate race were thrown out; Valencia said 81,000 were marked for both parties. If his numbers are correct, and, say, 65,000 of those votes had gone for the PRI, not only would Valencia have won a Senate seat, but his running mate Nancy Sánchez of Mexicali would have won one, too.
He regretted that electoral authorities did not accept his arguments that he won, and noted that he and Sánchez were "the legitimate winners and losers of the process."
While the labor leader has now conceded and says López Obrador should do the same in the presidential race, the El Mexicano newspaper Valencia directs shirked its duties as a professional news organization in not reporting the results of the Senate election as the process went along. The paper did not report the final preliminary vote tallies as compiled by the Federal Electoral Institute when they showed Blásquez ahead; it did not report the final official tallies from the IFE when they showed Blásquez winning. The regional electoral tribunal's ruling that Blásquez had won the state's third Senate seat was given a one-sentence mention at the bottom of a writer's lengthy column. That's it.
Valencia concluded his letter by thanking Baja California voters who had confidence in the PRI Senate ticket, and indeed all who voted in the July 1 election.
On Friday, outgoing PRI Sen. Fernando Castro Trenti, in a report on his activities to a capacity crowd at the Tijuana Cultural Center, noted that Baja California had elected two senators from the National Action Party and one from the left. What El Mexicano put on its front page Saturday, however, was his statement calling Valencia and Sánchez his good friends. Castro Trenti, in acknowledging Valencia's presence, said fate can be capricious. The El Mexicano article by Hilario Ochoa Movis appears to attribute statements to Castro Trenti that he did not make in his speech. The article said voter confusion caused Valencia and Sánchez to lose the election, placed the blame on electoral authorities, and never mentioned Blásquez's name. Valencia's letter does not mention Blásquez by name, either. Story, El Mexicano (PDF). Jump.
Marco Antonio Blásquez on Saturday took a symbolic oath of office as federal senator for Baja California in Tijuana's Benito Juárez Park, saying he really felt like he was a senator for the first time. He won election by just 242 votes and takes office later this week. Story, Frontera (PDF).
He ran on the Citizens Movement ticket as part of populist presidential candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador's Progressive Movement coalition, but will form part of the Workers Party delegation so that it qualifies for a major infusion of federal funding and representation on Senate committees.
Also moving to the Workers Party is Manuel Bartlett (left), elected as an at-large senator for the Democratic Revolution Party even though he finished out of the running in the direct Senate election in Puebla state. Bartlett, long a member of the Institutional Revolutionary Party and hated by the left until recent years, will head the Workers Party Senate delegation.
Blásquez, who would never have been elected had it not been for voter confusion among tens of thousands of PRI voters,
was recognized at last week's state-of-Congress addresses by outgoing federal Deputy Oscar Arce of the National Action Party and by outgoing federal Sen. Fernando Castro Trenti of the PRI.
Baja California will be represented by Blásquez and by two PAN senators, former Gov. Ernesto Ruffo of Ensenada and former Mexicali Mayor Víctor Hermosillo.