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Saturday, Aug. 4, 2012

Baja California to have its first senator from the left

Regional electoral tribunal rejects PRI arguments, awards Senate seat to Marco Antonio Blásquez of the Progressive Movement; His margin of victory rises from 194 to 242

El Mexicano newspaper, whose director lost the Senate seat, makes only the teeny-tiniest mention of Blásquez's victory

marco antonio blasquezThe regional federal electoral tribunal in Guadalajara has ratified the extremely narrow victory of Marco Antonio Blásquez for Baja California's third Senate seat, Frontera reported. The decision means the Institutional Revolutionary Party will not represent the state in the Senate for the first time since Baja California became a state.

Former Gov. Ernesto Ruffo and former Mexicali Mayor Víctor Hermosillo of the National Action Party won the other two Senate seats at stake.

While the tribunal invalidated 7,620 votes in 28 regular polling places and 580 votes in special polling places, all that did was boost Blásquez's margin of victory over the PRI's Eligio Valencia from 194 votes to 242 votes.

Party PAN PRD coalition PRI Green Panal Null votes Other Total
Votes 388,632 324,412 324,170 49,133 47,416 102,836 715 1,237,314
Percent 31.4% 26.22% 26.20% 4% 3.8% 8.3% 0  

Final difference between PRD coalition, PRI=242

Blásquez never would have won the race save for confusion among voters. The PRI and the Green Party ran as a coalition in the presidential and Chamber of Deputy races in the July 1 election, and voters could mark off both parties on their ballot and have them count. However, because Ensenada councilman Alfonso Blancafort ran separately as the Green Party Senate candidate, ballots marked for both the Green Party and the PRI were invalid. It appears that tens of thousands of ballots were cast for both the Green Party and the PRI in the Senate race; there were more than 100,000 null votes.

Blásquez said he was asked to run for Senate by Progressive Movement presidential candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador. The Progressive Movement coalition is made up of the Democratic Revolutionary Party, the Workers Party and the Citizens Movement. Blásquez, a longtime supporter of the PRI, decided to run as a Citizens Movement candidate.

The decision came down Thursday. Although the story merited a big headline and prominent play, it was only mentioned in a tiny item at the end of Víctor Islas Parras's column in El Mexicano. El Mexicano is directed by the losing PRI candidate, Eligio Valencia. El Mexicano did report the item a day before Frontera.

Story, Frontera (PDF). Tiny mention of ruling in Mexicano (PDF).
Update, Aug. 26: Blásquez to represent Workers Party in Congress.

Previous stories:
July 22: PRI explains why it thinks it will win third seat at stake.
July 9: El Mexicano does not publish results of recount that gave Blásquez a 194-vote victory for Baja California's third Senate seat.
July 8: Recount gives Blásquez 194-vote victory over Valencia.
July 2: PAN ticket wins two Senate seats; race for third seat too close to call.
June 21: Blásquez profiled by Frontera.
March: Senate race update.
Jan. 24: María Elvia de Hank says she declined No. 2 spot on PRI Senate ticket so that ticket would have better geographic balance.

July 13: Outgoing PAN Sen. Alejandro González Alcocer delivers final report of his activities.