The principal candidates for the June 3, 2017 gubernatorial election in the State of Mexico – the home of President Peña Nieto – were ratified by their respective parties:
- PRI: Alfredo del Mazo, son of a former governor and EPN cousin, and currently a federal deputy;
- PAN: Josefina Vasquez Mota, the party’s presidential candidate in 2012 and former cabinet minister;.
- Morena: Delfina Gómez, a long-time teacher who served as mayor of Texcoco from 2012-2015 and federal deputy.
(The other major party, the PRD, cancelled an internal election and is yet to announce a candidate. The PRD has been hurt by massive defections to Morena, and will not be competitive.)
The State of Mexico election promises to bring the full weight of the national political parties to bear and set the scene for the 2018 presidential and congressional elections. The results, besides determining control of Mexico’s most populous state, will have a major influence on national party politics and the selection of the presidential candidates.
A win by del Mazo – personally selected by Peña Nieto – would strengthen EPN’s ability to dictate the PRI’s presidential candidate and restore a sense that the PRI, despite its current discredit, will be competitive in 2018. A loss would be devastating to EPN’s standing inside the party and further weaken the government.
A win by Vasquez Mota of the PAN would greatly increase the odds that a downtrodden PRI will join forces with the PAN to present a common candidate in 2018. Both principal factions of the PAN – the one led by Ricardo Anaya, and the one backing Margarita Zavala (wife of former President Calderón) – are positioning themselves as backers of Vasquez.
A win by Delfina Gómez would give AMLO a crucially important base of financial support and also strengthen the stampede of the remainder of the PRD into Morena, on AMLO’s terms. This would avoid a splintered leftist vote. A win would also cement AMLO’s standing as the presumptive front runner for the presidency, which could also tend to unite the anti-AMLO forces.
The available polls for State of Mexico show the three principal candidates running essentially even, but with large numbers of undecideds.