None of 37 candidates killed in Mexico ran for president | Fact check

The claim: 37 candidates for president of Mexico were killed before the election

A June 3 Instagram post (direct link, archive link) includes a photo of Claudia Sheinbaum, Mexico’s president-elect, smiling and waving.

“37 other Real Mexican presidential candidates were Murdered,” reads part of the text accompanying the photo.

Other social media posts make or imply similar claims about the fate of her political opponents.

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Our rating: False

No candidates for president of Mexico were killed during the campaign, according to an organization tracking political violence there. There were, however, more than three dozen candidates for other offices who were killed during their campaigns.

Violence heavily aimed at candidates for local offices

Sheinbaum, a scientist and former mayor of Mexico City, was elected on June 2, USA TODAY reported. She will be the first woman to lead the country and the first person of Jewish descent to lead the predominantly Catholic nation.

It was also a historically violent election season across the country, but none of the politicians killed were running for president.

The presidential contest was between Sheinbaum (a political ally of outgoing president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador) Xóchitl Gálvez and Jorge Álvarez Máynez.

Paulina Creuheras, a deputy director at Mexican consulting firm Integralia, said her organization logged 39 killings of political candidates or aspiring candidates between September 2023 and the June 2 election. The firm’s last report before the election showed 34 candidates killed but she said a final report expected to be released in June would reflect the complete count.

“The majority of the victims were candidates for municipal or state positions,” Creuheras, whose work includes assessment of political risks, told USA TODAY in an email.

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The social media posts’ claim of 37 candidate deaths matches the number reported across the country on May 31, according to Reuters.

Some versions of the claim allege the killings were done to benefit Sheinbaum, but InSight Crime, a news outlet and thinktank focused on organized crime in the Americas, reported that experts in Mexico believe much of the violence was driven by organized crime groups trying to maintain control or influence local elections.

USA TODAY could not reach the Instagram user who shared the claim for comment.

Lead Stories also debunked the claim.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 37 candidates killed in Mexico ran for lower offices | Fact check