Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Nuevo León governor Samuel García announces 2024 presidential bid

Just 14 months after becoming governor of Nuevo León, Samuel García is looking for a new challenge and a new job.

The 34-year-old Citizens Movement (MC) party governor said Monday that he’s interested in contesting the 2024 presidential election.

“Citizens Movement has a lot of very good candidates, and I’m one of them,” García said during MC’s national convention in Mexico City.

He said he didn’t know whether MC would put forward its own candidate for the 2024 election or join a coalition of opposition parties, but he expressed confidence that his party can win the presidency on its own.

Nuevo Leon governor Samuel Garcia and his wife, Mariana Rodriguez
Political observers attribute García’s successful run for Nuevo León governor in 2021 as being largely due to his media-savvy campaign run by his wife, online influencer Mariana Rodríguez. (Photo: Mariana Rodríguez Instagram)

The MC leadership subsequently confirmed that the party wouldn’t join the Va por México coalition, made up of the National Action Party (PAN), the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD).

Senator Dante Delgado, MC’s national leader, noted that the party won the governorships of Jalisco and Nuevo León, and the mayoralties of Monterrey and Guadalajara, on its own and asserted that it can also triumph at the national level without “help from parties of the past.”

“We can win the presidency because we govern two of the three most important states in the country. Nuevo León and Jalisco aren’t just among the most populous states, they’re also among the most productive, among those that generate the most [income] for the country,” he said.

“We can win the presidency because we govern two of the three cities that set the country’s agenda – Guadalajara and Monterrey, which together with Mexico City are the epicenters of … [Mexico],” Delgado said.

“… The PAN is the past, the PRI is the past, … [the ruling] Morena [party] and its satellite parties are also the past and only we represent the future. Believe it – Mexico has a better option, and it’s Citizens Movement,” he said.

Mexico's Citizen Movement party leader Dante Delgado
Citizens Movement (MC) party leader Sen. Dante Delgado believes Garcia is one of three potential MC candidates who could win the presidency. (Photo: MC website)

The senator, a former governor of Veracruz and ambassador to Italy, said that García, Jalisco Governor Enrique Alfaro, or Monterrey Mayor Luis Donaldo Colosio Riojas could represent MC at the 2024 election.

Alfaro said a year ago that he was “more than prepared” to be a candidate, although he stressed he doesn’t have “delusions of grandeur.”

Colosio Riojas is the son of Luis Donald Colosio Murrieta, who was assassinated at a campaign event in Tijuana in 1994 while he was the PRI’s candidate for president.

García’s announcement that he will seek the MC candidacy is somewhat surprising because he was critical of his predecessor, Jaime Rodríguez, for taking leave as governor to contest the 2018 presidential election.

In October last year – the month he took office – he said it would be “doubly incongruent” for him to go on a “political adventure” while still governor of Nuevo León.

Former governor of Nuevo Leon Jaime Rodriguez voting in 2018 during his run for Mexico's president.
When running for governor of Nuevo León in 2021, García criticized his predecessor, Jaime Rodríguez, center, for having taking a sabbatical to run for president in 2018. (Photo: Gabriela Pérez Montiel/Cuartoscuro)

Fourteen months later, the soon-to-be father has apparently decided to forget that remark.

García, a former federal senator who is expecting a baby with his social media influencer wife Mariana Rodríguez, said he thinks every day about the state and country in which his daughter will be born. The Mexico he wants his daughter to live in is one free of violence and with opportunities for everyone, indicated the governor, who has faced a range of challenges in his first year in office, including responding to a water crisis and a high-profile femicide case.

In his short time as governor, García asserted that he has shown that a “new” Nuevo León is possible, and predicted that “a new orange Mexico is now coming.”

Orange is the political color of MC, which is also known as Movimiento Naranja, or Orange Movement.

García also said that he doesn’t believe in the political left or right but rather “the future” and “social democracy.”

If he succeeds in becoming MC’s presidential candidate, his most likely ruling party opponent will be either Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum or Foreign Affairs Minister Marcelo Ebrard. One of those two appears most likely to secure the Morena nomination, and both are openly campaigning for the candidacy in 2024.

There is far less clarity about who will represent the PAN, PRI and PRD, which are likely to choose a common presidential candidate. In that context, President López Obrador offered his own (very) long-list of possible opposition candidates in October, saying that a total of 43 people have either expressed interest in vying for the presidency or have been mentioned as potential contenders.

With reports from Reforma and El País

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