Duncan Wood, Office of the Simon Chair, Center for Strategic and International Studies, 2/7/2011
In the second of 2011’s state-level elections, the PAN has secured a significant victory in Baja California Sur. Marcos Covarrubias Villaseñor won more than 40% of the popular vote, beating the PRI into second place (with 33.52%). The PRD had held the governorship of the state since 1999, but its candidate, Luis Armando Díaz, could only win around 20% of the vote and this ended the contest in third place. This is an important victory for the PAN, coming as it does a week after the PRD won Guerrero in an election in which the PAN candidate withdrew from the race to increase the probabilities of PRD victory.
The biggest impact of these two elections, however, will be on the PRI; two elections in 2011, and two defeats. Although neither of these states will be pivotal in terms of the Presidential race in 2012, defeats there nonetheless represent a blow to the confidence of the party. The seemingly unstoppable PRI momentum that has been building prior to the summer of 2010 appears to be hitting some bumps in the road. And we must remember that victories by the PRD and the PAN at the state level will impact on the capacity of the PRI to mobilize its famous party machine to generate votes in 2012.