By David Agren / USA TODAY
Jaime “El Bronco” Rodríguez, who is fond of cowboy boots and cussing, bucked Mexico’s entrenched political system and history by becoming the first independent to win a governor’s seat.
The charismatic Rodriguez, who won the race in wealthy Nuevo León state, was one of several upsets in the country’s midterm elections, marked by citizen contempt for Mexico’s corruption-plagued political parties.
“Mexico has awakened, and Nuevo León is the example of citizens being awakened,” Rodríguez told supporters in Monterrey, after nabbing nearly 49 percent of the vote Sunday night.
The rise of independent candidates such as “El Bronco” threatens the power of political parties in Mexico, which hold privileges such as exclusive access to radio and TV for placing political messages and the right to annual public financing of more than $400 million.
The parties also controlled ballot access until the rules were changed for this year’s elections, allowing independents to run.