The Morena party won four of six gubernatorial elections held Sunday, preliminary results showed, increasing the number of federal entities controlled by the ruling party to 20.
The National Electoral Institute’s fast count results showed that Morena candidates triumphed in Hidalgo, Oaxaca, Quintana Roo and Tamaulipas, an outcome predicted by polls.
Candidates representing an alliance made up of the main opposition parties – the National Action Party (PAN), the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) – won in Aguascalientes and Durango.
Morena, whose candidates ran on tickets supported by minor parties such as Labor and the Green Party (PVEM), easily won the elections in Hidalgo, Oaxaca and Quintana Roo, while the fast count results showed a much closer race in Tamaulipas.
Julio Menchaca, a former federal senator and judge, is set to become the next governor of Hidalgo, securing between 60% and 63% of the vote, about double that of PAN-PRI-PRD contender Carolina Viggiano, a former federal deputy. The result will bring PRI’s long-held control of Hidalgo to an end.
Salomón Jara, a former federal senator and state agriculture minister, achieved a similarly thumping victory in Oaxaca, attracting support from 58% to 61% of voters, over double that garnered by PRI-PRD candidate Alejandro Avilés, a state deputy.
Former Benito Juárez (Cancún) mayor Mara Lezama will be sworn in as Quintana Roo’s first female governor later this year after winning between 55% and 58% of the vote in the Caribbean coast state. PAN-PRD candidate Laura Fernández, a former federal deputy and state tourism minister, was a distant second with support in the range of 15% to 18%.
Américo Villareal, Morena’s candidate in Tamaulipas, triumphed over the opposition’s César Verástegui, who served as government secretary in the current PAN administration led by Francisco García Cabeza de Vaca. Fast count results showed Villareal, a medical doctor and former federal senator, with between 49% and 53% of the vote compared to a range of 42% to 45% for Verástegui.
While Morena was the big winner on Sunday, the opposition took heart from its victories in Aguascalientes and Durango.
PAN-PRI-PRD candidate Teresa Jiménez, a former federal deputy and mayor of Aguascalientes city, attracted between 51% and 55% of the vote, putting her well ahead of Morena contender Nora Ruvalcaba, who was supported by about one-third of voters. Jímenez will be the first female governor of Aguascalientes, Mexico’s third smallest state by area.
In Durango, PAN-PRI-PRD candidate Esteban Villegas, a former state health minister and mayor of Durango city, attracted between 52% and 55% of the vote, fast track results showed, while support for Morena aspirant Marina Vitela was about 40%.
Once the new governors take office, Morena will govern 20 of Mexico’s 32 federal entities. Governors representing parties allied with Morena – Cuauhtémoc Blanco of Morelos (Social Encounter Party) and Ricardo Gallardo of San Luis Potosí (PVEM) – are in office in two other states.
President López Obrador asserted Monday that the opposition’s “classism” was a factor in its poor results in the states won by Morena, a party he founded.
“I shouldn’t be giving advice … but they should carry out a review of their strategy, it affects them a lot, … their classism, their racism” he told reporters at his morning news conference. “… They show disdain for people, they have no love for people,” claimed López Obrador, who continues to enjoy a high approval rating 3 1/2 years after taking office.
In addition to highlighting Morena’s favorable results, the president emphasized that Sunday’s elections were peaceful, although there were reports of armed men stealing ballot boxes in Tamaulipas.
“Although passions are inflamed during elections there were no deaths, there wasn’t any violence. The citizens, as always, rose to the occasion. My congratulations to all those who participated yesterday …” he said.
Meanwhile, the national leaders of PAN, PRI and the PRD all contended that the results showed that the opposition alliance – called Va por México – will be competitive at the 2024 federal election, at which voters will elect a new president and renew both houses of Congress.
“National Electoral Institute data shows that Va por México represents a [political] force with 40% [support] at a national level,” PRI chief Alejandro Moreno tweeted Monday.
“That’s why … [Morena] wants to divide the opposition because they know that if we make a complete coalition we’ll win the presidency,” he wrote.
However, a recent poll suggests that Morena will easily win the 2024 presidential election if it nominates either Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum or Foreign Affairs Minister Marcelo Ebrard as its candidate.