Battles for Governorships in Coahuila, EdoMéx Heat Up
By MARK LORENZANA
The gubernatorial polls in Coahuila and the State of Mexico (EdoMéx) on Sunday, June 4, will be the last local elections before Mexican voters troop to precincts nationally to vote for a new president in 2024.
With less than a week to go, preparations — as well as campaign posturing — for the Coahuila and EdoMéx elections are heating up.
One thing in common about both states is that the centralist Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) has ruled unchallenged there for a combined 94 years, something that Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s (AMLO) ruling party, the National Regeneration Movement (Morena), will try to change come June 4.
EdoMéx in particular — with 12.4 million registered voters — is viewed by many political experts as a supposed barometer for the 2024 Mexican presidential elections. And at first glance, wresting away control of EdoMéx from the PRI — whose own incumbent governor, Alfredo del Mazo Maza, narrowly beat Morena’s Delfina Gómez in the 2017 gubernatorial elections — looks like a long shot. But if the unofficial surveys released on May 15 are to be believed, Gómez is currently leading her PRI counterpart, Alejandra del Moral, 57.8 percent to 42 percent.
A week before the results of the unofficial polls were released, Del Moral was defiant, saying in a rally in front of her supporters that she was “going to win the governorship.” Gómez’s lead has been consistent, however: As early as February of this year, in a survey released by Mexican daily newspaper Reforma, the Morena candidate had 55 percent of the vote, followed by Del Moral with 41 percent. Juan Zepeda of the Citizen’s Movement Party (MC) came in a distant third with 4 percent. Zepeda has since withdrawn, with the MC announcing in March that it was no longer fielding a candidate.
The first debate between Del Moral and Gómez took place on April 20, with journalist Ana Paula Ordorica of Televisa as the moderator, and was riddled with accusations and mudslinging. Gómez pointed out that EdoMéx has always led in the “perception of corruption” at the national level, for which she proposed applying “the precepts of the 4T (AMLO’s so-called Fourth Transformation) of not stealing, not lying and not betraying the people.”
Del Moral countered that corruption “is committed by people, not institutions,” adding that the Morena candidate lacked the moral authority to talk about corruption, since — during Gómez’s tenure as mayor of the city of Texcoco in EdoMéx, from 2013 to 2015 — she was found guilty of withholding 10 percent of the salaries of close to 500 municipal workers in Texcoco and funneling the money into Morena’s coffers.
The second debate, which took place on Friday, May 19, saw more of the candidates laying down their proposals. Del Moral said she would add 10,000 more elements of the state police to EdoMéx, increase the salaries of uniformed officers, double the number of security cameras, tackle femicides head-on and create a million jobs in six years.
For her part, Gómez proposed to abolish corruption and impunity, resolve insecurity, encourage small and medium-sized companies, reduce illiteracy and increase penalties for environmental crimes.
Incidentally, this is the first time in the history of EdoMéx that two women are going head-to-head for the governorship of the state.
In the northern Mexican state of Coahuila, opposition candidate Manolo Jiménez Salinas, who is running as the standard bearer of the alliance by the PRI, the conservative National Action Party (PAN) and left-leaning Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), has extended his lead over his rivals, according to an unofficial survey released on May 8.
Jiménez Salinas, according to the poll, enjoys 44.3 percent voter preference and is ahead of his closest rival, Morena’s Armando Guadiana, who has 27.6 percent. Ricardo Mejía Berdeja of the Morena satellite Labor Party (PT) came in third with 11.6 percent, while Green Ecologist Party of Mexico (PVEM) candidate Lenin Pérez Rivera only managed to get 5.5 percent.
However, the biggest news leading up to the Coahuila elections so far has been the alleged pulling out of Pérez Rivera, in favor of Morena’s Guadiana, which PVEM and Morena national leaders Karen Castrejón Trujllo and Mario Delgado, respectively, jointly announced in a press conference on Saturday, May 27.
“Today we are supporting the gubernatorial candidate Armando Guadiana. In this sense, the PVEM favored the people of Coahuila more than the candidates and decided to move forward to consolidate the Fourth Transformation in this state,” said Castrejón Trujllo.
For his part, Delgado said that what happens in Coahuila will have a major impact at the national level.
“These are defining moments, and what happens here will be defined at the national level. The Green Party said that it wants to continue making history and will call on the party members to vote for Armando Guadiana,” said Delgado.
Shortly after the announcement of the two national leaders, however, PVEM standard bearer Pérez Rivera vehemently denied that he was backing out of the race, and said that no one tells him what to do, and reiterated that “Coahuila needs a change.”