MEXICO CITY — Elections for governor of a key border state as well as for legislatures and mayorships in 13 other states Sunday have raised tempers, along with fears that violence may be becoming endemic in local Mexican politics.

At stake is the governorship of Baja California. The ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, is looking to win back Baja California, while the conservative National Action Party desperately wants to hold on to the governor’s office in a state with key cities Tijuana and Mexicali.

A loss in Baja after 24 years in power there could be devastating for current National Action leader Gustavo Madero, who has formed a working alliance with PRI President Enrique Pena Nieto to enact key national reforms. Analysts say defeat could lead National Action to pull out of the alliance, known as the Pact for Mexico, which has achieved reforms in public education and telecom laws, but still faces hurdles in energy and tax reform.

“Given the symbolic importance of Baja California for National Action, if it loses this election, I really think you could see a significant impact on the Pact for Mexico,” said Rene Torres-Ruiz, a political science professor.

Election day got off to a rough start for Madero. National Action said he went to his assigned precinct in the northern state of Chihuahua to vote, only to find the gate locked. Madero said the PRI can’t act like a modern, reformist force on the national level, while reverting to strong-arm tactics during elections.

“We are seeing two realities. The Pact for Mexico is very civilized, very advanced policy, but on the other hand, when there are elections, it’s back to acting like the 1970s or 80s,” Madero said, referring to an era when the PRI ruled through vote fraud and handouts.