A leading source for news and analysis about Mexico and the U.S.-Mexican border.
Institutional Revolutionary Party candidate Fernando Castro Trenti conceded the Baja California governor's race on Saturday to the National Action Party's Francisco Vega.
"It went the way it went — although maybe not the way it should have been," a glum-looking Castro Trenti told a news conference. "The dream has ended," he said.
Castro Trenti said in a 20-minute speech that it was time to move forward. "It ends today. It's time to start something else." He also said, "We are not going to contest the election," and that he would return to the federal Chamber of Deputies seat he took leave from to run for governor. Castro Trenti did not take questions afterward.
Earlier, Castro Trenti published a full-page ad Saturday thanking those who voted for him, saying, "Now that the district counts have been totaled, I am certain that the results are not in my favor." He concluded the ad by saying that Mexico is undergoing a time of change, "and we place, before any other interest, the good of the nation." Full page ad, El Mexicano (PDF).
National PRI President César Camacho, who mistakenly proclaimed victory for Castro Trenti shortly after the polls closed Sunday, on Friday said the PRI would accept its losses. So did Baja California PRI President Nancy Sánchez, who earlier in the week strongly defended the PRI's request for a vote-by-vote recount, even though the legal conditions for such a recount were not met. The PRI-leaning state electoral institute granted the request despite the objections of the PAN and legal experts before halting the recount. Such recounts are only supposed to take place after the official count is finished and only if there is a difference of less than 1% between the winning and second-place candidate; neither condition was met when the vote-by-vote recount began. Story, Frontera (PDF).
Sánchez on Friday still complained about the preliminary vote count known as the PREP, still not apparently realizing that the PREP was only a preliminary count, with the official count being what matters. She may still be frustrated by last year's election, where, if it had not been for a balloting error committed by tens of thousands of voters, she very well might be a federal senator now.
In his ad, Castro Trenti also lashed out about the PREP count, as if it were any kind of determining factor in the election. At his news conference Saturday, he said the confusion from the PREP delayed his concession speech.
Update: It was announced later Saturday that Vega's final vote margin was 24,959 over Castro Trenti; the difference in the preliminary count, or PREP, was 25,554.
Meanwhile, a vote-by-vote recount did take place for the legislative race in Tijuana District 12. Baja California media reported that the Democratic Revolution Party's Roberto Dávalos won the district by fewer than 100 votes over the PRI's David Ruvalcaba; Dávalos, part of the National Action Party's four-party coalition, had held a 688-vote lead in the preliminary count. Frontera's Saturday edition reported the final margin as 30 votes, while El Mexicano said it was 75. El Mexicano (PDF) said Ruvalcaba halted the vote-by-vote recount at one point out of fear of not meeting the qualifications for becoming an at-large legislator. Uniradio Informa said the PAN will file a complaint against electoral officials over the recount; the story said the difference between the candidates at first was announced as 1.5% but that the 12th district electoral council then annulled some votes, apparently bringing the difference to under 1% for a recount.
Castro Trenti, in his news conference, did express pleasure that the PRI had kept the mayor's posts in Tijuana, Ensenada and Tecate, while losing in Rosarito and Mexicali.
Photo: In screenshot taken from a video from a live news conference in Tijuana recorded by Agencia Fronteriza de Noticias, Fernando Castro Trenti (center) concedes the election. At left in yellow is his wife, Isis, and at right, state PRI President Nancy Sánchez.