The Battle for City Hall

Quico says: A while ago, I identified 13 urban municipios the opposition should target in this year’s election. I picked out big urban municipios that fulfilled two conditions:

– The mayor elected in 2004 was chavista
– The municipality voted No in the 2007 referendum

These are places where the opposition should’ve expected big gains. So how did it go?

Not well. We took only four of the 13, lost eight, and one (Maracay) is still in limbo.

The silver lining is that, buoyed by big wins in Maracaibo and Petare, we did get more votes than PSUV in these 13 municipios, edging them out 1.14 million votes to 1.05 million votes. On the other hand, our guys couldn’t match the No’s performance in last year’s referendum anywhere.

Here’s the breakdown.

  • Mérida City, Mérida:

AD’s Lester Rodríguez won with 51.9% of the vote against the PSUV guy’s 37%. The communists got 3.5% here. A win, but hardly overwhelming considering we’d gotten 66% for the No side a year ago.

  • Maracaibo, Zulia:

Manuel Rosales crushed the PSUV guy 60% to 39.6%. Even so, Rosales underperformed the No vote in Maracaibo by 2.4 points.

  • Petare, Miranda:

In the sweetest win of the night, Primero Justicia’s Carlos Ocariz came in at 55.6% to Jesse Chacón’s 43.9%. The No side had gotten 61.6%, though.

  • El Tigre, Anzoátegui:

PSUV’s Carlos Hernández squeaked out a win over the Podemos guy, Ernesto Paraqueima, by 48.6% to 47.0%. Disunity cost us this race: PSUV’s margin of victory was 1,082 votes, while Bandera Roja ran a no-hoper who got 1,087 votes!

  • Coro, Falcón:

PSUV’s Oswaldo Leon had no trouble crushing a Copei lady 64% to 35%.

  • Puerto La Cruz, Anzoátegui:

PSUV had its own Stalin in Puerto La Cruz, last name Fuentes, who beat out the oppo guy 52.1% to 46.3%. Last year, the No side got 55.2% out there.

  • Barquisimeto, Lara:

Amalia Saez rode Henry Falcón’s considerable coattails to a PSUV victory here by 55.4% to 41.2% over Causa R’s Alfredo Ramos. Marisabel Rodríguz could manage just 2% of the vote in a city that voted 56.5% against letting her ex get re-elected forever.

  • Barcelona, Anzoátegui:

Chavismo ran two candidates but won anyway, with PSUV’s Inés Sifontes getting 46.7% of the vote, ahead of the AD guy’s 43.4%, while a MEP guy took 7.1% – all in a town that voted 53.7% against constitutional reform.

  • Maracay, Aragua:

Primero Justicia is asking for a re-count of paper ballots after their guy, Richard Mardo, came in just 100-some-odd votes behind the PSUV guy. Both were on 45.7%. A PPT guy took 4.6% out there. Last year, Maracay was 53.7% No.

  • Cumaná, Sucre:

Cumaná was AD’s gift to Chávez Sunday night. PSUV’s Rafael Acuña took it with 47.8% of the vote, with Podemos’s Hernán Nuñez in second on 36.5%. AD’s guy got 13.6% of the vote. Buena esa, compañeritos.

  • Los Teques, Miranda:

Another squeaker: PSUV’s Alirio Mendoza got in on 50% of the vote, with Primero Justicia’s Rómulo Herrera second on 48.7%. Los Teques voted 52.9% against constitutional reform.

  • Guacara, Carabobo:

PSUV’s guy won comfortably: 52.3% to Proyecto Venezuela’s guy’s 43.5%. The No side won the referendum last year with 51.8% here.

  • Ciudad Bolívar, Bolívar:

A rare win for Causa R: Victor Fuenmayor won with 46.3% of the vote to PSUV’s guy’s 45.2% of the vote. PPT’s María Manrique cost PSUV this one: she took 2.3% of the vote and swung Angostura to the opposition, in a place where the No side had 50.3% last year.

The long and the short of it is: we’re competitive in most urban areas, but hardly dominant there. Our guys (and, sad to say, our candidates in these towns were all guys) underperformed the No in every one of these municipalities. And disunity’s still costing us in places where it never should’ve been an issue.