A leading source for news and analysis about Mexico and the U.S.-Mexican border.

June 2011

Former Tijuana mayor asks PAN leaders
not to back presidential contenders

Former Gov. Ruffo becomes campaign coordinator for Josefina Vásquez Mota;
Gov. José Guadalupe Osuna Millán backs Finance Minister Ernesto Cordero

Vázquez Mota moves up in polls

By David Gaddis Smith

francisco vegaFormer Tijuana Mayor Francisco "Kiko" Vega, (right) in a letter, has asked National Action Party leaders to refrain from backing various contenders for the party's nomination for president. "History has shown us that the the only thing 'official' designations have brought are defeats," the federal deputy wrote. Story, El Mexicano. jump page. Santiago Creel was seen as President Vicente Fox's favorite for the nomination for the 2006 presidential race, but Felipe Calderón won the nomination instead and then eked out a general election victory over populist Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

On May 28, it was widely perceived that Finance Minister Ernesto Cordero (right) had received the official blessing for the nomination from Calderón. Story, El Mexicano. jump page. Then, on May 31, Cordero made what was a true statement — that Mexico now has more members of the middle class than it had poor people — but said it in such a way that he came under withering criticism. On June 1, in Guaymas, he acknowledged that poverty remains an extremely serious problem in Mexico. Story, El Mexicano. Jump page On May 31, in San Luis Potosí, he had said Mexico had stopped being a poor country. Cordero is being backed by Baja California Gov. José Guadalupe Osuna Millán, Baja California Sur Gov. Marcos Covarrubias Villaseñor, Puebla Gov. Rafael Moreno Valley and Sonora Gov. William Father Elias.

ernesto ruffo mugMeanwhile, former Baja California Gov. Ernesto Ruffo (left) has become the campaign coordinator for the campaign of Josefina Vásquez Mota, the PAN's leader in the Chamber of Deputies. He had backed Creel in 2006. Frontera newspaper reported June 1 that former Tijuana Mayor Jorge Ramos (2007-2010) also was backing Vásquez Mota. The paper said he met May 31 in Mexico City with Vásquez Mota and also with presidential hopeful Heriberto Félix, the social development minister. Leo Zuckermann June 8 column on Vásquez Mota numbers rising.

Creel is in the race again, and a recent poll put him as the leader among PAN hopefuls. He is being backed by former Tijuana Mayor Jesús "Chuy" González Reyes. The paper said González's backing of Creel is tied to an agreement he has with Vega on determining the PAN's candidate in the 2013 Baja California gubernatorial race. The paper said González is miffed with Interior Minister Francisco Blake Mora, formerly Osuna Millán's right-hand man. Zeta reported on June 3 that Vega held a meeting in a Tijuana restaurant last weekend with state legislator Ricardo Magaña and other PANistas; the paper noted that Vega wants to become governor and Magaña wants to be mayor.

presidential hopeful
  Percent in April Mitofsky poll Percent in May poll Position / former position Comments
Santiago Creel santiago-creel mug 38.1 37.4 senator; former interior minister may be seen as a loser, and polls show him badly trailing PRI favorite, Mexico state Gov. Enrique Peña Nieto; out-of-wedlock child with actress could hurt him with conservative PAN
Josefina Vásquez Mota josefina vasquez mota mug 24.3 29.1 PAN's Chamber of Deputies leader; former education minister knows the lay of the land, but lacks charisma; former Baja California Gov. Ernesto Ruffo to coordinate her campaign
Alonso Lujambio alonso-lujamibo-mug-small 6.2 7.4 education minister seen as handsome alternative to likely PRI candidate Peña Nieto; only joined the PAN in 2009, but his father was a longtime PANista
Ernesto Cordero ernesto cordero small  mug 5.4 7.2 finance minister seen as Calderón's candidate; stuck foot in mouth with way he said that Mexico is no longer a poor country; economy has been improving
Emilio González emilo gonzalez mug 3.8 5.7 governor of Jalisco state Jalisco is finally bringing comprehensive sewage system for Guadalajara; González represents far right of party
Javier Lozano javier lozano mug 2.4 3.9 labor minister his PRI past is likely to haunt him
Heriberto Félix heriberto-felix mug 0.8 2.7 social development minister Sinaloa businessman has charisma; married to daughter of 1988 PAN presidential candidate Manuel Clouthier; seen as having no chance by party insiders


UPDATE, June 8: New Mitofsky poll numbers added.

UPDATE, June 4: Frontera newspaper says some PANistas are now calling federal Deputy Javier Orduño a Judas because he coordinated a recent Vásquez Mota visit around Mexicali but now is backing Cordero.

Salvador Morales Riubí column about the PAN race.
Center for Strategic and International Studies February blog about the PAN race.