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Politician Famous for Slapping Rival Upends Colombia Election

  • Rodolfo Hernandez makes the runoff after late surge in support
  • Hernandez was suspended as mayor for assaulting opponent
Rodolfo Hernandez speaks to the press at a polling location during the first-round presidential election in Bucaramanga on May 29.
Rodolfo Hernandez speaks to the press at a polling location during the first-round presidential election in Bucaramanga on May 29.Photographer: Natalia Ortiz Mantilla/Bloomberg
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A short-tempered 77-year-old entrepreneur who once physically assaulted an opponent is shaking up Colombia’s presidential election race now going to a runoff in three weeks.

Just two weeks ago, Rodolfo Hernandez was seen as a long shot. But now he’s suddenly the talk of Colombia after an improbable, last-minute surge that propelled him into a runoff in June, and from there to the presidency.