New polls indicate that Mexico’s ruling Morena party will claim four additional governorships this Sunday and that its candidate in Durango could also triumph in a close race.
Gubernatorial elections will be held June 5 in the following states, listed below with the party of its current ruling government:
- Hidalgo: Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI)
- Oaxaca: Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI)
- Quintana Roo: Democratic Revolution Party (PRD)
- Tamaulipas: National Action Party (PAN)
- Aguascalientes: National Action Party (PAN)
- Durango: National Action Party (PAN)
The results of polls conducted by the newspaper El Financiero show that Morena – founded by President López Obrador – is likely to win in Hidalgo, Oaxaca, Quintana Roo and Tamaulipas.
Of 800 Hidalgo residents polled in the second half of May, 54% said that they would vote for Morena candidate Julio Menchaca, a former federal senator and judge. The Morena/Labor Party (PT)/New Alliance candidate garnered 20% more support than the joint PAN/PRI/PRD candidate Carolina Viggiano, a former federal deputy.
In Oaxaca, the Morena/Green Party (PVEM) candidate Salomón Jara — a former federal senator and state agriculture minister — attracted 56% support from poll respondents, more than double the 27% backing of PRI/PRD hopeful Alejandro Avilés, a state deputy.
The results of the Quintana Roo El Financiero poll show Morena/PT/PVEM candidate Mara Lezama with a 13-point advantage over PAN/PRD candidate Laura Fernández, a former federal deputy and state tourism minister. Lezama, mayor of Benito Juárez (Cancún) until March, was supported by 44% of those polled compared to 31% who backed Fernández.
The Tamaulipas poll shows a slightly tighter contest, with Morena/PT/PVEM candidate Américo Villareal attracting 49% support, 10 points ahead of PAN/PRI/PRD hopeful César Verástegui.
Villareal is a medical doctor and former federal senator, while Verástegui served as government secretary in the current administration led by Francisco García Cabeza de Vaca, who is accused of organized crime and money laundering by federal authorities.
PAN rule in Aguascalientes, Mexico’s third smallest state by area, looks set to continue with PAN/PRI/PRD candidate Teresa Jiménez attracting 48% support from poll respondents. The ex-federal deputy and mayor of Aguascalientes city was 13 points ahead of Morena candidate Nora Ruvalcaba, who formerly served as the federal government’s development programs chief in the state.
In Durango, El Financiero said that its poll produced a statistical tie with a difference of just one point between the two leading candidates. PAN/PRI/PRD candidate Esteban Villegas, a former state health minister and mayor of Durango city, attracted 46% support, while 45% of respondents said they would vote for Morena/PT/PVEM aspirant Marina Vitela, a former federal deputy and mayor of Gómez Palacio.
If Morena wins four of the six gubernatorial contests, the number of federal entities it governs will increase from 16 to 20. When the presidential election was held in July 2018, the party wasn’t in power in any of the 32 states.
The elections this Sunday come a year after elections at which Morena won 11 governorships but lost its majority in the lower house of federal Congress and the two-thirds supermajority it shared with its allies.
Authorities in Tamaulipas and Durango have announced that the sale of alcohol will be banned for 48 hours until 11:59 p.m. Sunday, while a ley seca, or dry law, will be in effect for 24 hours in Aguascalientes. With the exception of one municipality in Hidalgo – Huejutla de Reyes – alcohol bans haven’t been announced in the other states.
But criminal organizations will pose a bigger problem than drunk citizens for new governors once they take office later this year.
The newspaper El Economista identified the crime groups that have a presence in the six states where voters will elect new governors on Sunday.
The Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) and the Old School Zetas operate in Hidalgo, while the CJNG, the Pantoja Cartel and Los Chukys are active in Oaxaca.
The CJNG, the Gulf Cartel, Los Pelones, the Old School Zetas and a group called Comandante Coronavirus all operate in Quintana Roo, El Economista said, while at least nine groups are involved in criminal activity in Tamaulipas. They are Los Treviño, Los Metro, the Narco Rap group, the CJNG, the Gulf Cartel, The New Era Gulf Cartel, the Northeast Cartel, the Old School Zetas and the Tropa del Infierno, or Hell’s Army – the armed wing of the Northeast Cartel.
The new governor of Aguascalientes will take control of a state where Mexico’s two most powerful cartels – the CJNG and the Sinaloa Cartel – both operate, while the incoming Durango leader will take the reins in a state where the CJNG, the Sinaloa Cartel, Los Cabrera – an armed wing of the Sinaloa Cartel – and the Western (or Laguna) Cartel all hold sway.