Claudia Sheinbaum Net Worth, Mexico’s First Presidential Debate

On April 7, Mexico’s leading presidential candidates, Claudia Sheinbaum of MORENA and Bertha Xóchitl Gálvez of the Strength and Heart for Mexico electoral alliance, clashed in the first of three televised debates. The debate highlighted the contrasting visions of the candidates and set the stage for the upcoming election on June 2.

Sheinbaum’s Strong Performance

Claudia Sheinbaum, a scientist with a Ph.D. in energy engineering and a close ally of current President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), demonstrated a clear and composed presence during the debate. Despite facing vulnerabilities related to her tenure as head of Mexico City’s government, particularly the metro collapses and the city’s water crisis, Sheinbaum managed to maintain her composure and focus on her political agenda.

Sheinbaum’s experience as Secretary of the Environment in Mexico City and her direct involvement in AMLO’s administration lend credibility to her promise of continuity in the current government’s social programs. Her scientific background and administrative experience were evident as she presented her policies and responded to attacks.

Gálvez’s Struggles

Bertha Xóchitl Gálvez, representing the Strength and Heart for Mexico alliance, which includes the PRI, PAN, and PRD, struggled to articulate her political and social proposals effectively. Her edgy and sometimes shrill attacks on Sheinbaum did not resonate well with the audience. Gálvez herself admitted that she did not perform well, attributing her failure to not being true to herself.

Gálvez missed critical opportunities to challenge Sheinbaum on significant issues such as the metro collapses and the water crisis in Mexico City. As a result, her performance did not translate into any gains in the polls, where she remains significantly behind Sheinbaum, with polling numbers showing her at 34-36 percent compared to Sheinbaum’s 58-60 percent.

Third Candidate’s Impact

The third candidate in the debate, Jorge Álvarez Máynez of the Citizens’ Movement Party, which advocates for a “social market economy,” managed to gain a couple of points, polling at 5-6 percent after the debate. Although his presence was less pronounced compared to the two leading candidates, Álvarez Máynez’s participation added another dimension to the political discourse.

AMLO’s Legacy and Social Programs

AMLO’s administration, characterized by modest social programs such as cash transfers, wage and pension increases, has been popular among the Mexican populace. These programs have reached millions and have been a cornerstone of his government’s appeal. Despite his controversial decisions, such as giving preference to Mexico’s national oil company Pemex over American oil companies and occasionally supporting Venezuela and Nicaragua, AMLO has maintained significant support.

Gálvez, with her libertarian and high-tech bent, insists she will maintain AMLO’s social programs, but Sheinbaum, as AMLO’s chosen successor, more credibly claims she will continue them. This credibility gap further solidifies Sheinbaum’s position as the front-runner.

U.S. Relations and Economic Policies

AMLO’s relationship with the U.S. has been complex, balancing cooperation with assertiveness. While some on the U.S. right criticize him, more pragmatic elements appreciate his efforts to curb mass migration and promote a favorable climate for U.S. investment. His administration’s “republican austerity” approach, focusing spending on specific projects like the Maya Train and Pemex’s Dos Bocas oil refinery, aligns with U.S. interests.

Washington views Mexico as a crucial partner in economic competition with China, exemplified by Elon Musk’s Tesla investing billions in a plant near Monterrey. AMLO’s policies have not disrupted the interests of the Mexican oligarchy, maintaining favorable conditions for both domestic and foreign investors.

Challenges Ahead for Sheinbaum

Sheinbaum, committed to continuing AMLO’s policies, faces significant challenges. She has vowed not to increase or create new taxes on the rich and corporate profits, which could constrain the government’s ability to expand social programs. An alliance of NGOs led by Oxfam Mexico estimates that maintaining current levels of access to healthcare, education, and other services requires a spending increase equivalent to 5.5 percent of GDP.

The real challenge lies in balancing social welfare with economic stability in a turbulent global economy. Sheinbaum’s ability to navigate these complexities will be crucial in determining the future trajectory of Mexico under her potential leadership.


The first presidential debate underscored the stark differences between Claudia Sheinbaum and Bertha Xóchitl Gálvez. Sheinbaum’s solid performance and credibility as AMLO’s successor give her a commanding lead in the polls. As the election approaches, the remaining debates will provide further opportunities for the candidates to sway voters, but Sheinbaum’s lead appears formidable. The outcome will significantly shape Mexico’s political and economic landscape in the coming years.

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