8/1 Tijuana, Mexico: Updates on Mayoral Election
- Tijuana, Mexico Holding Mayoral Election
By ARTURO SALINAS
.c The Associated Press
TIJUANA, Mexico (AP) - The ruling party of Mexican President Vicente Fox
sought to keep its hold on the border city of Tijuana in voting Sunday and beat
back another challenge in a southern state viewed as an early presidential
Jorge Ramos, the mayoral candidate in Tijuana for Fox's National Action
Party, or PAN, was favored to win in the pre-election polls over Jorge Hank Rhon,
running for the opposition Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI.
Hank Rhon poured some of his reported $500 million net worth into the
election in northern Baja California state and enjoys the backing of PRI President
Roberto Madrazo, who wants to run for president in 2006.
Fox's party has held both the state's governorship and the mayorship in
Tijuana since 1989, the year when Baja California state became the first to elect a
governor who was not from the PRI. The PRI ruled the country from 1929 to
2000 when Fox won the presidency.
Hank Rhon, the son of the late PRI power broker Carlos Hank Gonzalez, is the
father of 18 children and owns hundreds of animals at a private zoo near his
In 1988, two of his employees were convicted of killing a Tijuana journalist
who reported on corruption for the crusading weekly Zeta.
Madrazo, head of the PRI, hoped to use the governor's election in the
southern state of Oaxaca as a springboard for a presidential run. Oaxaca has been a
stronghold both for Madrazo in particular and for his Institutional
Revolutionary Party as a whole.
Because of the state's key role for the PRI, the governor's race here
sometimes looks more like an early presidential primary.
Pre-election polls showed one of Madrazo's key election tacticians, former
federal Sen. Ulises Ruiz, virtually tied with opposition candidate Gabino Cue in
As polls closed, officials were reporting a healthy turnout and relatively
Oaxaca ``is a must-win state for Madrazo,'' said George Grayson, a Mexico
expert at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Va.
Until recently, Mexico had no ``must-win'' states. For six decades, every
state election went to the PRI, by fair means or foul. That started to change
with National Action won Baja California in 1989.
``If the PRI loses (in Oaxaca), it's better than 50-50 that Madrazo does not
make it'' to the candidacy in 2006, said Mexican political scientist Federico
In a third election Sunday, an exit poll reported by Mexico's leading
television network, Televisa, indicated that, as expected, the National Action had
held onto the governorship in north-central state of Aguascalientes.
The poll by Consulta Mitofsky gave National Action's Luis Armando Reynoso
Femat a commanding lead over the PRI's Oscar Lopez Velarde.
Oaxaca's capital is the colonial jewel, Oaxaca city. Hundreds of thousands of
foreigners visit its Pacific beaches, such as Huatulco.
08/01/04 21:39 EDT
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