Pierluisi Leads in Tight Puerto Rico Governor Race
Resident Commissioner González Stays in Congress; statehood favored
SAN JUAN — Vowing to turn Puerto Rico into the 51st state, Pedro Pierluisi, the gubernatorial candidate for the incumbent New Progressive Party (NPP), led the 2020 general elections Tuesday in one of the closest in the island’s history.
CEE President Francisco Rosado Colomer issued a preliminary certification of the gubernatorial election results just before midnight in which he stated: “This partial result does not constitute nor should it be interpreted as a final result.”
The former two-term resident commissioner—from 2009 to 2016—would win by the smallest plurality since Popular Democratic Party founder Luis Muñoz Marín was elected the first governor of the island in 1948. Former Gov. Ricardo Rosselló, who resigned last year, won the 2016 election with 41.8 percent of the vote.
Pierluisi’s ballot partner, Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González, won her bid for reelection with some 405,239 votes, or 40.6 percent—nearly 10 points over her nearest rival, former Gov. Aníbal Acevedo Vilá, the Popular Democratic Party’s (PDP) candidate, who garnered 316,648 votes, or 31.72 percent.
Pierluisi cast his vote at the Rafael María de Labra Public School in San Juan at approximately 11 a.m. Some of the voters at that polling school screamed “crook and corrupt” at the former resident commissioner, who has repeatedly said in debates that his record is clean.
Pierluisi said citizens have a constitutional right to express themselves, and that those screaming “are a minority.”
The candidate was expected to declare victory, but as the race kept getting tighter throughout night, Popular Democratic Party (PDP) gubernatorial candidate Carlos “Charlie” Delgado Altieri was still waiting for all votes to be counted. Polling schools closed at 5 p.m., with those in line at the time becoming the last voters allowed.
Pierluisi also served as the island’s Justice secretary from 1993 to 1997 under former Gov. Pedro Rosselló’s administration.
The percentage difference in votes between the two top candidates for governor was less than 1 percent. Puerto Rico’s Electoral Code triggers a recount when the percentage difference drops to 0.5 percent.
Earlier in the day, Pierluisi posted on his Twitter account that: “Voting is the most powerful tool in our democracy.”
“Go out and vote and give me your confidence to be part of a Puerto Rico that makes progress with the equality we deserve as American citizens,” Pierluisi tweeted.
Although NPP faithful and militants were slated to announce the electoral event’s results from party headquarters in San Juan, leaders opted to move to the Vivo Beach Club in Carolina because it would be easier and safer to implement social distancing measures.
Besides the governor and resident commissioner ticket, the legislative and municipal ballots, the election also included a yes-or-no plebiscite on whether Puerto Rico should be admitted as the 51st state of the United States. Statehood prevailed in the political status referendum, with 52.29 percent voting “yes” to statehood, and 47.71 percent voting against, with 88.34 percent of units reporting.
Caribbean Business reporters José Alvarado Vega and María Soledad Dávila Calero contributed.Tweets by CaribBusiness