Even with drug violence, political murders, and World Cup, Mexicans turned out and voted in the governor elections in 14 states (Mexico has 31 states). However, turnout was low.
Arizona Fox affiliate reports on the border violence:
(Emphasis added on all quoted articles)
The Washington Post reports:
Two parties claim victory in Mexico elections after campaign marred by violence
Turnout was low, but not as low as feared. The vote Sunday took place against a backdrop of sensational violence, including four bodies hung from a bridge. One gubernatorial candidate was assassinated a week ago. A major state candidate from Cancun was in prison, charged with aiding the drug cartels. But all in all, the 2010 elections in Mexico were relatively calm.
Both major parties claimed victory in the state and local elections.
President Felipe Calderón’s center-right National Action Party (PAN) appeared from preliminary results to have fought back a surge by its main opponent, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which ruled Mexico for 71 years as a soft dictatorship of crony capitalism, vote-stealing and political patronage.
The PRI lost control of the federal government in 2000 with the election of PAN’s Vicente Fox as president, and it lost again in 2006, when Calderón was elected by a razor-thin margin over a candidate from the left, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who continues to call himself the “legitimate president” of Mexico.
The elections Sunday were seen by analysts as a warm-up for 2012, when the PRI hopes to take back Los Pinos, the Mexican White House. Some U.S. anti-drug officials fear that a return of the politically pragmatic PRI could crimp the partnership between Mexico and the United States in the battle against the drug cartels.
“Politically pragmatic”, when it comes to the drug cartels. That’s quite the euphemism, isn’t it? But I digress
The PRI won nine of the 12 governor’s races Sunday, maintaining power in states it already controls. Beatriz Paredes, the PRI national president, said her party is now the dominant force in Mexican politics.
But Calderón’s party made advances. Employing crazy-quilt political alliances — by patching together left- and right-wing parties in temporary marriages of convenience and by running popular figures — PAN appeared to have won in the states of Sinaloa, Puebla and Oaxaca.
The PRI held on to the governor’s seat in Chihuahua and took the border cities of Tijuana and Ciudad Juarez, where mayoral contender Hector “Teto” Murguía beat a PAN opponent who accused him of being tied to the narcotics cartels.
The party also won in the northeast state of Tamaulipas, south of the Texas border, where the winner was the brother of a PRI candidate slain last week by commandos impersonating Mexican marines, and in the Caribbean state of Quintana Roo. There, the PRI candidate beat his challenger from the left, Gregorio “Greg” Sánchez, in federal prison awaiting trial on drug charges.
The Economist, however, puts it into perspective,
The PRI fails to make gains in Mexico’s state elections
MEXICO’S bloody state elections ended last night in low turnouts and a politically inconclusive outcome. The opposition Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) won nine of the 12 governorships up for grabs, while the ruling National Action Party (PAN) took just three. However, the PRI already held the posts in nine of those states, and was expected to register a clean sweep. Instead, it showed no net gain, and in fact traded control of three big states for three small ones. The results may blunt the PRI’s momentum somewhat—the party won control of the lower house of Congress in last year’s midterm elections—but are unlikely to fundamentally alter the dynamics of the 2012 presidential race.
That’s the bottom line.