Election preview: Governors

Six states are electing governors, 4 currently controlled by the PRI and 2 by the PAN. Nuevo León, Sonora, and San Luis Potosí are close races between the PRI and the PAN. Campeche and Colima seem certain to remain under PRI control, while Querétaro will stay with the PAN. Even if the PAN exceeds expectations in the federal Chamber of Deputies election, poor performance in these state races could damage the party nationally. The three close races are:

  • Nuevo Leon. Fernando Elizondo of the PAN vs. Rodrigo Medina of the PRI. At the start of the campaign, Elizondo, who is backed by the Monterrey business community, was the odds-on favorite, largely because of the poor performance of outgoing PRI governor Natividad González.  Elizondo ran a weak campaign, while Medina benefitted from massive TV coverage, especially on sports shows. The PAN has also been hit by the scandal involving its candidate for mayor of the Monterrey suburb of Garza García and his alleged contacts with the Beltran Leyva cartel. The last Universal poll shows a 6% PRI lead.
  • Sonora. The outgoing administration of Eduardo Bours has been badly hurt by the scandal of the ABC day care center fire. What had been a safe PRI state (in May the PRI had a 15% lead) could now go to the PAN, and the national party has invested heavily in attacking Bours. The PAN candidate is Guillermo Padrés Elías, and the PRI candidate is Alfonso Elías Serrano. The two are cousins, both descendants of General Plutarco Elias Calles (President 1924-28).
  • San Luis Potosí.  PAN candidate Alejandro Zapata Perogordo has only a 3 point lead over Fernando Toranzo Fernández of the PRI according to an El Universal poll. This should have been a safe state for the PAN, and a loss here would be a major blow.

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