MEXICO CITY -- Mexico's ruling party claimed victory -- and dispatched a mariachi band to celebrate -- in the hotly contested state elections in Baja California on Sunday.
But the opponents, the National Action Party, or PAN, that has ruled Baja California for the last 24 years, also claimed victory.
Mexicans voted in 15 states for local officials Sunday, elections seen as a test of the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party's, or PRI's, ability to consolidate power nationwide.
The most important race was in Baja California, the state that borders California and encompasses Tijuana. Both major candidates said they had won late Sunday as votes were being counted.
"They did everything for us not to win," PAN leader Gustavo Madero said, claiming his party had a five-point lead over the PRI.
Cesar Camacho, head of the PRI, said his faction had finally retaken the leadership of Baja. Its loss in 1989 was a historic blow to the party that governed with an iron fist for seven decades until losing the presidency in 2000.