Independents are eligible to run in all states for the first time in June 7 elections. In the border state of Nuevo León, a candidate known as ‘El Bronco’ is energizing voters fed up with scandal-ridden parties. Standing next to a sign that counts down to June 7, Mexico’s election day, campaign worker Pablo Livas says he has been “wishing for another option” in politics for more than a decade. “We haven’t had the government we deserve,” he says. But today, a quick glance at Mr. Livas’s baseball cap reveals his new sense of hope. It reads simply: “I am El Bronco.” Mr. Livas is one of dozens of volunteers bustling around a former car dealership off a tree-lined square in Monterrey this week, intent on hawking Mexico’s newest model in political candidates: the independent.
The gubernatorial race here in the northern state of Nuevo León is heating up, with the first non-affiliated candidate, Jaime Rodríguez Calderón, aka “El Bronco,” posing a formidable threat to the incumbent Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). Mr. Rodríguez is polling first or second in a handful of surveys, underscoring widespread frustration with government corruption and leadership. Some hope the presence of independent candidates can help boost voter turnout – and possibly even restore some faith in politics.
Rodríguez, in an interview in his car en route to his fourth campaign event of the day, says he has a sense of mission about his candidacy. “I want to wake up the country,” he says. “Nuevo León can set an example for Mexico by beating party politics.”