A preliminary count of the ballots released Monday shows National Action Party candidate Marcos Covarrubias won 40 percent of the vote, compared to 33 percent for Ricardo Barroso of the Institutional Revolutionary Party. Luis Amando Diaz of the leftist Democratic Revolution Party had 21 percent.
Democratic Revolution had governed the state on the southern half of the Baja California peninsula for 12 years. The leftist party has been plagued by infighting since nearly capturing Mexico's presidency in 2006.
The final vote count will start Wednesday.