Ricky Rosselló-Pierluisi Gubernatorial Primary Race Avoiding Confrontations
While the internal poll numbers of each of the gubernatorial hopefuls from the New Progressive Party (NPP), according to their respective spokespersons, place both in the lead, both camps have agreed to a gentlemanly race by avoiding confrontations and personal attacks that could affect the NPP’s possibility of victory in the general elections this coming November.
Elías Sánchez is the executive director of Dr. Ricardo “Ricky” Rosselló’s campaign, while the former legislator and former Appeals Court judge Néstor Aponte Hernández is at the head of attorney Pedro Pierluisi’s campaign, currently Puerto Rico’s resident commissioner in Washington, D.C., and NPP president.
Sánchez emphasized the freshness of Rosselló’s candidacy as well as the innovative ideas he presents and the enthusiasm he generates among the people. “He is a young candidate with new ideas and new styles of making politics,” said Sánchez, highlighting Rosselló’s qualities in his quest to be the NPP candidate for governor.
The candidate is the son of former Gov. Pedro Rosselló, who served from 1992-2000.
Sánchez is so sure of Rosselló’s victory in the race with Pierluisi that he called the primary on June 5 an “academic primary,” because of Rosselló’s ample lead in their internal polls. He added that Rosselló “always” scores a two-digit lead in their surveys over Pierluisi. The results of these internal polls haven’t been released.
For his part, Aponte said the purpose of Pierluisi’s campaign is to “make sure that once we win the primary, we have a united party, so as to win the coming elections.”
There won’t be any attacks coming from our team,” he added. “It will be a campaign without attacks on our fellow party members.”
Aponte also said Pierluisi’s campaign would highlight the resident commissioner’s experience and his performance on Capitol Hill, working on behalf of Puerto Rico, regardless of who is the governor of Puerto Rico. He added that the work that has been carried out after he took the helm of the campaign some months ago, are bearing fruit with internal polls showing a trend of constant growth in support of Pierluisi.
“At the moment, a threshold has been crossed between both candidacies and Pierluisi is ahead at the moment and keeps rising,” said Aponte, referring to polls prepared by firms hired by Pierluisi’s camp, which also haven’t been released on grounds that they are important campaign “resources.”
What both campaign officials didn’t mention, because the primary is an internal NPP race, is that at the grassroots level, the message promoted between both camps is the commitment of their respective candidates with the statehood ideal and the plan they would implement, after winning the election, to push statehood at the federal government level.
Some voices in the Rosselló camp have questioned the activism and commitment of Pierluisi in promoting statehood, while Pierluisi’s camp has been sounding alarms about Rosselló’s lack of government experience and the risk this would represent for Puerto Rico, especially given the island’s fiscal and economic crisis.
Aponte reiterated that his campaign team would avoid attacks against their opponent that could jeopardize victory in the November general elections. For his part, Sánchez said they would do the same, but that his team would be ready to respond to any attack against Rosselló.