Mexico state candidate killed ahead of vote: media

MEXICO CITY Mon Jun 28, 2010 1:23pm EDT

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MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - A leading opposition candidate running for governor of the northern Mexican state of Tamaulipas was killed on Monday local media reported, fanning fears drug violence will disrupt local elections this weekend.

Rodolfo Torre from the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, was favored to win the July 4 vote for Tamaulipas governor but was ambushed on his way to the local airport in Ciudad Victoria, the daily Universal reported. Four people from Torre's election campaign were killed in the attack, it said.

Mexican drug cartels have launched a campaign of intimidation against some politicians running in local elections in a show of power that is defying Mexico's army-led crackdown on traffickers.

Gunmen killed a mayoral candidate for the conservative ruling National Action Party, or PAN, in the border town of Valle Hermoso in Tamaulipas in May after he spoke out against drug violence while campaigning.

More than 25,000 people have been killed in drug violence since President Felipe Calderon took office in late 2006.

(Reporting by Mica Rosenberg, editing by Jackie Frank)

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