August 7, 2007
Analysis: The Baja California, Mexico Elections
By Kenn Morris and Flavio Olivieri
August 6, 2007 – As of today, 91% of the votes in Sunday’s Baja California, Mexico, elections have been counted, with what some
are considering a surprising spread of more than 54,000 votes in favor of José Guadalupe Osuna Millán (with 50.6% [PAN-Alianza por Baja California]) over Jorge Hank Rhon (43.7% [PRI-Alianza para que Vivas Mejor]), in what appears to be an major victory for the PAN (National Action Party). Other parties received less than 6% of the total vote.
Both former mayors of Tijuana, the PAN victory
comes after a strong campaign by Jorge Hank Rhon replete with election court challenges, accusations of political interference
by both major parties, but a largely peaceful election day with minor cases of irregularities — including accusations
of people handing out phone cards as well as money in exchange for votes, and dozens of pre-filled ballots found at various
locations. Looking forward, with the new governor taking power on November 1,
2007, expect a new state team with heavy representation from Tijuana.
In addition to the governor’s race, mayoral
races also took place in Baja California’s five municipalities. With the
exception of what appear to be landslide victories for the PAN-Alianza por Baja California
mayoral candidate in Mexicali (Rodolfo Valdez Gutiérrez, with over 21,700 votes in favor, for a 51% win), and the PRI-Alianza para que Vivas Mejor candidate in Rosarito (Hugo Torres, with nearly 5,500 votes in favor, for a 58.9%
win), the PAN appears to be edging out victories in most municipalities. Still
too close to call, but likely PAN wins: Jorge Ramos Hernández (PAN-Alianza por Baja
California) is maintaining a slight edge of 7,700 votes (48.7%) in Tijuana; as is Pablo Alejo López Núñez (PAN-Alianza por Baja California) in Ensenada with 1,100 votes (45.8%); and Donaldo Peñaloza (PAN-Alianza por Baja California) in Tecate with 660 votes (46.9%) in favor. The new mayors will
take power on December 1, 2007.
Baja California State Congress also appears to have undergone a major turnover, with 14 of the 16 plurality vote seats going
to candidates of the PAN-Alianza por Baja California (two for the PRI alliance).
Another nine seats will be allocated based on proportional representation; however it appears the new PAN governor will have
a majority in the state legislature.
— or the lack of voter participation — has often been called the “winning candidate” in many recent
elections, due to low voter turnout rates. However, the 2007 elections appear
to have mobilized the Baja California public, resulting in a higher-than-expected turnout of approximately 41% of eligible
voters. While clearly lower than one might hope, it is useful to note that —
in comparison — only approximately 39% of eligible voters in California actually participated in the November 2006 elections.
A BorderBills Alert from Crossborder Group Inc.
Kenn Morris is CEO and President, and Flavio
Olivieri is Vice President-Mexico of Crossborder Group Inc., a crossborder market research, strategy, and consulting firm with offices in San Diego and Tijuana. They can be reached
at (619) 710-8120, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.