This election season has been the most violent in Mexico’s recent history, with 36 candidates killed since September, and dozens of other politicians and campaign officials slaughtered. That macabre statistic has created a fresh challenge for the country’s political parties: They are now trying to fill dozens of candidacies left open by the assassinations. “There are some positions that no one wants to contest right now,” said Eduardo Guerrero, a security expert at Lantia Consultores in Mexico City. “It’s something that we’re seeing in several states in the country.” Earlier this month, the body of Abel Montufar, a candidate for congress from the state of Guerrero, was found in his truck. He had been shot several times. After Montufar’s funeral, members of his party, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), began what has become a familiar search.
“We are looking for someone to take over his candidacy,” said Heriberto Vazquez, the president of the PRI’s steering committee in Guerrero, in an interview. “We are looking for someone without fear.”
Vazquez explained the precautions the party is taking as it attempts to recruit replacements. Party officials have drawn up a map of towns and cities so dangerous that candidates are advised to not to campaign there. But because parts of Guerrero are so violent, it’s impossible to tell which of the candidates who became victims were targeted, and which were simply caught up in random crime.