Bernier Leading Pack in Electoral Campaign Fund-Raising
SAN JUAN—The candidate for Puerto Rico governor from the Popular Democratic Party (PDP), David Bernier, held the lead among gubernatorial hopefuls regarding campaign fundraising, raising up to $1.4 million from January to July, according to the Office of Electoral Comptroller (OEC).
Meanwhile, the candidate for governor of the New Progressive Party (NPP), Ricardo Roselló, managed to raise $1.2 million during the same period. Contrary to Bernier, the pro-statehood candidate entered the first half of the year after a tough primary with Resident Commisioner Pedro Pierluisi, for which he also had to raise money.
Since he began collecting funds in 2013, Roselló has raised around $3 million and has used around $2.8 million, according to numbers from the OEC. The actual balance in Roselló’s account nowadays, without taking into account the federal funds, is of $222,883.
Meanwhile, Bernier began collecting money in January and since then has obtained $1.4 million, while his expenses have totaled $1.3 million, according to the OEC, where the candidates file their income and expenses report. Without taking into account the public money and PDP funds, there are $66,891 left in Bernier’s account.
The candidate for governor from the Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP), María de Lourdes Santiago, reflected an income of $1,510 in these first six months of the year. Between 2013 and 2015, she manage to collect $7,081 and used $848.
On the other hand, the candidate for the Puerto Rican Workers Party (PPT by its Spanish initials), Rafael Bernabe, does not reflect any income or expense during this period for his campaign. Between 2013 and 2015, the PPT raised $146,036 and had used $381,574.
Regarding independent candidates Manuel Cidre and Alexandra Lúgaro, between January and July they raised little money compared to the main political parties. Since 2013 to July of this year, Cidre has had an income of $205,174 and $203,985 in expenses. Lúgaro, meanwhile, had an income of $101,349 and $120,306 in expenses.
According to electoral law, the candidates must add any wages that come from the general fund to the money they raise. Because it is an election year, the registered parties can use the Electoral Fund for up to $600.000 in campaign expenses.
The PDP has been the party who has used up the most from this fund, for a total of $537,294, while the NPP has used $515,931; the PIP has used $313,443 and the PPT has used $286,985 from this fund.
According to electoral law, to have the right to receive this money, the parties must raise $100,000 the year before the elections. There are two other available funds, a special Pairing Fund and the Voluntary Alternate Fund.
The Electoral Comptroller, Manuel Torres, said that the pairing fund implies that the government pairs one dollar for each dollar that the candidate raises, going up to $5 million and applying in this case to the NPP and PDP.
Meanwhile, in the case of the PIP and the PPT, the fund offers four dollars for each one raised until a maximum of $1 million is reached, meaning that the party must contribute $250,000.
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