Mexican officials have pledged expanded security for the country’s July 1 presidential and congressional elections and said they’ll consider providing protection for a broad range of candidates amid growing interference by criminal gangs in politics.

According to an AP report, the Mexican government normally provides security for presidential candidates, but Assistant Interior Secretary Obdulio Avila said that his agency will “evaluate the appropriateness of security for other candidates.’’

Interior Secretary Alejandro Poire said in the report, “We should recognize that, while it is not a generalized phenomenon, there have been instances of public insecurity and interference or attempts at interference by criminals in some elections.’’

In 2010 gunmen believed to be working for a drug cartel assassinated the leading candidate for governor in the northern state of Tamaulipas, the report said.

The Interior Department also said it would be willing to provide protection for electoral officials.