Jaime Rodríguez, a.k.a. “El Bronco,” is the frontrunner in the race for governor of the border state of Nuevo Leon, a major economic hub and home to the third-largest metropolitan area in Mexico.
Just a few years ago, such an insurgent candidacy was not even possible. A constitutional change in 2012 allowed candidates to run as independents in Mexico, a major shift for a country that was governed by the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) for most of the past century. Many people say it is no coincidence that an independent is leading in some polls in a key state at a time when corruption scandals have rocked the national government and many people are searching for alternatives.
El Bronco has guts,
Initially, Rodriguez gained fame in his state primarily by staying alive. During his time as mayor of the suburb of Garcia, from 2009 to 2012, drug-war violence had transformed the Monterrey area from an industrial metropolis known for its wealth into one of the country’s deadliest urban centers. After Rodriguez was elected, his 22-year-old son — one of his six children — was abducted and killed. Rodriguez said his 2-year-old daughter was also briefly kidnapped. He was one of numerous municipal officials in Mexico targeted by traffickers; he survived at least two assassination attempts, including one in which he said gunmen riddled his car with bullets.
Risky business: VIOLENCE GRIPS MEXICO AHEAD OF MIDTERM ELECTIONS
The elections are scheduled for Sunday, June 7.