On 12 November, Samuel Garcia formally announced his bid for the presidency under the banner of the center-left Citizens’ Movement (MC). At 35, the Nuevo Leon governor prides himself on bringing Tesla to his state and standing out as one of Mexico’s most prominent young politicians.
MC, formed initially as a coalition of smaller parties in the 1990s, reemerged in 2011 and has been steadily gaining ground. The party has representation in both chambers of Congress and governors in two key states: northeastern Nuevo Leon and western Jalisco. MC casts itself as a fresh political force, emphasizing citizen-centric governance, transparency and accountability — priorities that resonate with the younger voters.
The party has become a platform for the young scions of political royalty like Monterrey Mayor Luis Donaldo Colosio — the son of a PRI presidential candidate assassinated in 1994 — or Juan Ignacio Zavala, the nephew of former President Felipe Calderon.
The strategy behind the MC’s presidential nomination was veiled in mystery for some time, fueling rumors about a potential alliance with the opposition coalition to endorse Sen. Xochitl Galvez, a move favored by an influential faction within the party. Alternatively, there was speculation about MC going it alone with either Garcia or ex-Foreign Affairs Minister Marcelo Ebrard. Ebrard, however, chose a predictable political path by staying with MORENA and reaffirming his loyalty to President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO).
Interestingly, Garcia had previously hinted at a 2030 presidential run. Some view advancing his timeline as a strategic move, reflecting an arrangement with AMLO, with whom Garcia maintains good rapport despite their political differences.
The underlying motive behind a deal with AMLO appears to be a deliberate effort to weaken the opposition. Garcia’s candidacy can help the election of Claudia Sheinbaum by taking votes away from Galvez. There is growing unease about Garcia’s influence in the Galvez war room, which is scrambling to develop strategies to win over young voters.
Garcia’s rise in Mexican politics has been marked by his ability to connect with young people: He has outperformed other politicians in leveraging social media, aided by his wife, Mariana Rodriguez, an influencer with over 3 million followers on Instagram.
In other words, Garcia’s candidacy provides voters with an alternative choice to the long-established dominance of traditional political parties such as PRI and PAN. He even appeals to those who have soured on MORENA. That said, Garcia’s short political career has been marred by controversy, including corruption allegations and family ties with drug cartel leaders. His (reported) arrangement with AMLO could be in exchange for political shielding.
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