He was shot and killed while giving a stump speech on May 14. This week, he was elected mayor.
Enrique Hernandez was giving a stump speech when he and a city council candidate were gunned down in Yurecuaro by a drive-by shooter in western Mexico. The shooting brought the death toll of candidates up to at least three in a violent campaign season in which eight were running.
Hernandez was known for speaking out against the violence and shoddy policing in his city as the power of cartels grew. He was vocal in his criticism of what he said was a partnership between the police and the Knights Templar cartel there.
“We must be conscious of the fact that to rebel against the lawlessness of the Knights Templar we must at once rebel against the state government that supports them,” he said in a taped interview online, according to the Daily Beast.
Hernandez was the only deceased candidate to remain on the ballot and win following his death. He represented an emerging left wing political party called Morena, which took between 34 and 40 congressional seats in Mexico on the June 7 midterm.
The cartels in Mexico have become increasingly violent. In early May, two cartels had a standoff over a small town, Chilapa, in the state of Guerrero while police and the army looked on. In January, 10 bodies and 11 decapacitated heads were found in graves nearby, and in November 11 bodies were found. The violence is over turf and power as cartels jostle for the biggest share and control over politicians.
In March, a woman running for mayor in a different town was found decapacitated. Over her body was a sheet with a message from the drug gangs. “This is what will happen to all the ------- politicians who don't want to sign up, ------- turncoats,” it read.
Since 2008, 24 political candidates have been murdered in Mexico.