Mexico’s unlikely independent opens campaign for president
MEXICO CITY (AP) — Independent Mexican presidential candidate Jaime Rodriguez opened his campaign Wednesday by refusing any government funding and pledging to seek support from undecided and unsatisfied voters.
“People are fed up with political parties, and I’m going to take advantage of that,” Rodriguez told reporters.
Rodriguez was elected governor of the northern state of Nuevo Leon in 2015 with a campaign that featured him riding horses. His logo is a stallion and he is better known by the nickname “El Bronco.”
He was initially blocked from the ballot for the July 1 election for not collecting the required 866,000 valid signatures, equal to 1 percent of registered voters. But Mexico’s top electoral court put him on the ballot Tuesday, ruling he was not given a sufficient opportunity to contest the rejection of signatures.
The government offers independent candidates much smaller amounts of campaign financing than party candidates, but Rodriguez said he wouldn’t even accept that.
“Nobody is going to have to work longer to support a lazy politician,” he said.
Despite speculation that he might draw votes away from front-runner Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, Rodriguez said he will “go after all of them (the other candidates) ... they are all part of the same system.”
Rodriguez is the second independent candidate in the race, joining Margarita Zavala, a lawyer and former lawmaker and first lady, in the field of five candidates.
Polls taken before the decision to put Rodriguez on the ballot suggested he would garner a very small percentage of votes. But Rodriguez’s folksy speaking style is likely to win him points in upcoming debates.