Vice Presidency of Democratic Party in Puerto Rico Disputed
SAN JUAN – Canóvanas Mayor Lorna Soto has asked the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to recognize her petition to be vice president of the party in Puerto Rico.
Along with attorney Francisco Domenech and former Secretary of State Kenneth McClintock, a permanent delegate to the Democratic Party, Soto claims the Democratic executive committee in Puerto Rico incorrectly appointed attorney Gina Méndez, director of Senate President Eduardo Bhatia’s office, to the second highest rank for Democrats on the island.
Soto, a member of the pro-statehood group of Democrats locally, argues that party rules were violated because she was the only one who presented her candidacy for the post.
In the July 7 complaint, Soto, Domenech and McClintock argue that Democratic Party regulations require a vote for any position guaranteeing DNC membership, the others being the post for president or delegates such as national committeeman, McClintock’s position, and national committeewoman Liza Ortiz’s.
In response, the chairman of the Democratic Party of Puerto Rico, Roberto Prats, said the local regulations have stipulated since 2008 that the vice presidency is selected by the executive committee of island Democrats, and assured that the DNC was informed of those regulations.
However, Domenech maintains that local regulations also list the vice president as a position to which nominations may be submitted no later than the second Friday in April.
According to DNC rules, if the presidency is held by a man, the vice presidency must be filled by a woman.
The complaint, which was filed before the credentials committee and could be discussed at the next DNC meeting in fall or winter, also alleges that the local regulation violates DNC principles.
In their complaint, the group argues that “a guiding principle is members’ ‘full, timely and equal opportunity to participate’ in party affairs.”