Nogales, Sonora mayoral candidate Juan Francisco Gim Nogales celebrates with his supporters in this photo posted to his Facebook page.

The Nogales, Sonora mayor’s office will get a new occupant, but it’s staying in the hands of the same political party after local voters chose a candidate from the Citizens Regeneration Movement (Morena) in Sunday’s election.

Juan Francisco Gim Nogales had taken in 40.5 percent of the vote, according to preliminary results posted on Monday afternoon by the Sonora State Electoral Institute (IEE), with all votes counted. Jorge Freig Carrillo, candidate for the Go for Sonora coalition (Va por Sonora) was trailing with 36.2 percent. A little more than 2,500 votes separated the two.

The IEE reported that nearly 60,000 ballots were counted in the local mayoral election, meaning just 33 percent of registered voters cast a ballot. El Diario de Sonora, a Nogales, Sonora newspaper, reported that the participation rate was lower than in the previous election. (The previous election in Mexico, however, was also a presidential election.)

“In reports from throughout the day, the constant was little traffic, calm polling places, almost-empty ballot bases and the hope that there would be an increase by closing. That didn’t happen, the dynamic of low participation was maintained,” El Diario reported.

Gim Nogales and Freig Carrillo were the clear standouts in a field of eight candidates, which grew from an original list of five candidates when registrations were first published by the IEE in late April.

Gim Nogales, the former director of Mexico’s customs service (SAT) in Nogales, Sonora, ran as the candidate of the relatively new Morena party of President Andrés López Obrador, a left-leaning populist party that was officially recognized for the first time in 2014. Gim caused a stir during the campaign with a convoluted statement during a debate in which he said he wouldn’t promote a more qualified woman ahead of a less-qualified male superior.

Freig Carrillo is a businessman whose family controls companies in the transport and importing sector. The Go for Sonora coalition is a combination of the Industrial Revolutionary Party (PRI), National Action Party (PAN) and Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) – Mexico’s three most established political parties.

State and national elections

Local residents also chose candidates from Morena for their representatives in the Sonora state legislature. In District 5, the northern part of the city, Lucia Méndez Vega was the top vote-getter, with 35 percent of the votes. In District 4, Azalia Guevara Espinoza was in the lead with 42 percent of votes. Guevara Espinoza ran under an alliance including Morena, the Labor Party (PT), the Green Party (PVEM) and New Alliance (Nueva Alianza).

Around the state, Sonorans chose Alfonso Durazo as their next governor. Durazo also ran on the ticket of Morena in coalition with the PT, PVEM and Nueva Alianza, and will be Sonora’s first governor from the Morena party. He’ll succeed outgoing Gov. Claudia Pavlovich of the PRI, who was elected in 2015 as the state’s first woman governor.

Durazo earned a majority of the votes with 51.5 percent, according to the preliminary results. Ernesto Gándara Camou, with the Go for Sonora coalition, was the runner-up with 35.6 percent.

One of the gubernatorial candidates was Cuauhtémoc “Temo” Galindo, a former mayor of Nogales, Sonora. Galindo didn’t have much success in the governor’s race, however, earning just 1.2 percent of votes.

While Morena did well in capturing the Sonora governorship and maintaining control of Nogales, Sonora’s city hall – it was also headed for victory in nine of the other 14 governor’s races around the country, The Associated Press reported – the party lost ground Sunday in the nation’s lower house of Congress, losing the simple majority it had previously held in the 500-member body. López Obrador’s party can still form a majority bloc with its allies in the Labor and Green parties, but not the two-thirds majority needed to approve constitutional reforms the president has sought, the AP reported.

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