Mexicans vote in Bay Area in historic election, many chanting Claudia Sheinbaum's name

For the first time, Mexican nationals living abroad were allowed to cast votes in person and on Sunday, people lined up at polls at Mexican consulates throughout the country, including the Bay Area.

"Claudia she!" was heard ringing in the air, as many chanted the name of Claudia Sheinbaum, the new Mexican president, on the way to becoming the first woman to hold that post.

Sheinbaum will also be the first person from a Jewish background to lead the overwhelmingly Catholic country.

Sheinbaum supporters chanted her name outside the consulate in San Jose. 

Sheinbaum has roots here in the bay as well. Over two decades ago, she spent time researching at UC Berkeley and participated in pro-democracy rallies at Stanford.

People drove from all over to vote, many waiting in line for hours.

Many said the historical nature of the race motivated them to head to the polls.

"I feel so proud, being a woman that we're going to have representation in the president of Mexico, so that's why I'm here," said Judith of Hollister.

Some 98 million Mexicans are registered and eligible to vote; a majority of them women.

 Mexico's presidential candidate for the ruling Morena party Claudia Sheinbaum greets supporters. (Photo by Alfredo ESTRELLA / AFP) (Photo by ALFREDO ESTRELLA/AFP via Getty Images)

In addition to the race for president, more than 20,000 public offices were up for grabs.
New lawmakers will face several challenges when they step into office, such as cartel violence and the economy.

"We need more security," said Iliana of Palo Alto. "There are a lot of drug problems." 

According to Mexico's national electoral institute, an estimated 180,000 Mexicans living abroad voted in the election.

Sheinbaum, the favored successor of outgoing President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, on Monday vowed to continue on the direction set by the populist leftist leader. But the cool-tempered scientist offers a sharp contrast in style — and a break with Mexico’s male-dominated political culture.

"I promise that I am not going to let you down," Sheinbaum said, greeting supporters in Mexico City’s colonial-era main plaza, the Zocalo.

The National Electoral Institute’s president said Sheinbaum had between 58.3% and 60.7% of the vote, while opposition candidate Xóchitl Gálvez had between 26.6% and 28.6% and Jorge Álvarez Máynez had between 9.9% and 10.8% of the vote. 

Sheinbaum’s Morena party was also projected to hold its majorities in both chambers of Congress.

The climate scientist and former Mexico City mayor said that her two competitors had called her and conceded her victory.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.