Sun. Jun 23rd, 2024

Puerto Rico Gov. Pedro Pierluisi loses re-election bid in surprise primary upset

By 37ci3 Jun3,2024


Puerto Rico Governor Pedro Pierluisi conceded defeat on Sunday night effectively ended his bid for re-election after losing a primary to Jennifer Gonzalez, the island’s resident commissioner and non-voting member of Congress.

In his speech, Pierluisi called the defeat “very painful” and unexpected, while congratulating Gonzalez on his victory and wishing him well as the gubernatorial candidate of Puerto Rico’s ruling party, the New Progressive Party, or pro-statehood PNP.

With 76% of the vote counted as of Monday morning, Gonzalez had 136,281 (56%) and Pierluisi had 105,548 (44%). According to Puerto Rico’s election commission.

Four years after Gonzalez and Pierluisi ran on a joint ticket to win their current seats, there was a surprise upset. At the time, they presented a united front as they tried to clean up the party’s image the resignation of disgraced statesman Governor Ricardo Rossell√≥ after entering scandal over leaked private conversations.

Unlike the US mainland, political parties on the island are based on ideals about Puerto Rico’s territorial status. But as a US territory, its public officials often have to align with the mainland party.

Although Pierluisi and Gonzalez both belong to the pro-state party, Pierluisi is a Democrat and Gonzalez is a Republican.

Gonzalez celebrated his victory with cheering supporters.

“Today is a special day for me, my family, my team and all Puerto Ricans who choose change” he said. “I will always be a governor who will be on the streets.”

Gonzalez is the first female gubernatorial candidate to secure a primary victory for the New Progressive Party. In 2000, Puerto Rico elected Sila Maria Calder√≥n of the People’s Democratic Party, or PPD, as its first female governor.

The PPD, which supports the island’s current territorial status, also held its primary Sunday. Representative Jesus Manuel Ortiz of Puerto Rico won over Senator Juan Zaragoza. by a wide margin.

In the Nov. 5 general election, Ortiz and Gonzalez will face each other and a third candidate, Juan Dalmau, of the Puerto Rican Independence Party, or PIP.

As the results were being released late Sunday, the election commission’s website crashed, frustrating many who had been following the primaries closely.

Officials said they were rushing to fix the problem and did not know why the site crashed, but the US Department of Homeland Security and other agencies were helping.

“If we had to activate the FBI given the situation, we would do it,” commission interim president Jessica Padilla said.

More than a dozen polling centers, including one where Ortiz came to vote, were reportedly without power. The outages forced officials to revert to a manual process. Power outages have become increasingly common in Puerto Rico after 2017’s Hurricane Maria as the U.S. territory waits to rebuild its power grid.

Aware of this, Puerto Rico’s election commission officials rented more than a dozen generators, and a private power company identified 81 alternative polling stations with guaranteed electricity.





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By 37ci3

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