It seems so, when you consider who is running and who is not.
The announcement of Antonio Ecarri who barely lost his primary election for Caracas-Libertador that he will run anyway insures that Jorge Rodriguez will win reelection. Chavista news have wasted not time in making profit out of Ecarri announcement, trashing along way claims of the opposition on other matters. In Caracas Libertador it is inconceivable that Rodriguez polls less than 40%. It will not happen because too many vested interests in chavismo perpetuation reside in Libertador (public employees, Mision recipients, etc...). Garcia was certainly not a good candidate but Ecarri is not much better. Maybe younger, a new face, but a grating, school teacher presence. If a solution is not found I predict that Rodriguez will sail through an undeserved reelection with 45%, while Ecarri will beat Garcia by a couple of percent points, maybe 35% at best; because a few chavistas, sure that Rodriguez is going to be reelected, will vote for Ecarri to punish the 2007 betrayal of Garcia. If there was one district in Venezuela where a single candidature was the key to win, it was Libertador-Caracas.
But chavismo has trouble of its own and seems to have conceded already two crucial districts.
In Guaicaipuro (Los Teques) the sitting mayor did not get the nod for reelection. Surprising since 5 years ago Chavez had enthroned him as the real leader of Miranda through which he would fight Capriles, just elected for his first term. Indeed, Alirio Mendoza did like to make street shows against Capriles but his administration must have been either particularly flawed and/or corrupt that the regime preferred to give him the boot and named lackluster former minister Garces. The point is that chavismo has no figure in Miranda now that two of its heavyweights have bitten the dust against Capriles. So why not try with a political unknown that may do a decent job (by chavista standards) in Los Teques and look like a home grown challenger in three years from now. I give you the enthusiastic propaganda link....
Barquisimeto is another one that chavismo seems to have crossed of its lists. Held by Falcon before he became governor, this one pushed (or was forced to push?) Amalia Saez to succeed her. And indeed she went out of her way to sabotage the work of her former sponsor. But along the way it became clear that her interest for the well being of Barquisimetanos was tangential. So she was given the boot and the chavista candidate is, guess what, a military. Bohorquez was the local Nazional Guard head so there is little expectation son that character. But of course this does not faze propaganda who like for Los Teques fail to mention the name of the outgoing mayor. Just as if all was starting anew. We should also not forget as it is almost always the case in chavismo "switches" that nomination are the result of factions slugging it out. The Reyes camp, defeated last December again, having lost its main backer in Chavez, might be receding further.
Whatever the case, the opposition will need badly to win both in Los Teques and Barquisimeto to partially compensate for what is going to be a sore loss in Caracas. Well played, Ecarri! Though if you ask me, if I have to chose I prefer to lose Libertador and gain the other two, in the grand design of things. But certainly if we could pick up the three.... What bothers me is how many other Ecarri are about to pop up.