Second time’s the charm. That’s what they say, right? Well, Puerto Rico didn’t have much choice but to make it work, especially since the entire world was watching.
In a historical move, Puerto Rico postponed their primary elections last week because there weren’t enough paper ballots to fulfill the voting process. Speculation remains on how these elections became so chaotic, but what we do know is that the sanctity of Puerto Rico’s democracy depended on yesterday’s outcome. Thankfully, the elections were carried out with success, and the official candidates for the gubernatorial race on November 3rd were elected.
Pedro Pierluisi was chosen for the New Progressive Party (NPP), while Carlos “Charlie” Delgado Altiero for the Popular Democratic Party (PDP). This means Governor Wanda Vázquez won’t have the opportunity to formally be elected as governor in these upcoming elections.
Pierluisi won by a landslide by receiving more than 58 percent of the vote compared to nearly 42 percent for Vázquez. As for Delgado, after more than 45 percent of electoral colleges reporting, he had received more than 60 percent of the vote. Eduardo Bhatia (PDP) ended with 23. 4 percent and San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz (PDP) with 13.4 percent.
This isn’t Pierluisi’s first time attempting to be seated at La Fortaleza’s gubernatorial chair. Last summer, after former Governor Ricardo Rosselló was ousted, Pierluisi was sworn into office. However, this decision was overturned by Puerto Rico’s Supreme Court before he could even warm up the Caribbean throne.
The fallen Rosselló named him Puerto Rico’s Secretary of State in the hopes of placing him next in line to become governor. It might’ve worked had everyone agreed to it. After having served only five days, Pierluisi was told that this was not legal as he had not been confirmed as Secretary of State by both chambers of the legislature. Vázquez took over Puerto Rico’s government, and the rest is history.
Delgado has been a politician in Puerto Rico for many years and is currently mayor of Isabela. Even then, many people were surprised to see him win since PDP had endorsed Bhatia from the beginning. Nevertheless, the people spoke, and the president of the Popular Democratic Party, Aníbal Acevedo Vilá, has set the record straight by expressing his full support for Delgado.
Governor Vázquez accepted her defeat yesterday, thanking those who had supported her. She also had, what many perceived, a strong message for Pierluisi.
“Le digo al licenciado Pierluisi que lo más importante es que miles de puertorriqueños que creyeron en esta servidora y que me dieron su voto, creyeron en hacer la diferencia, en un gobierno diferente y fuera de política. Pensando en la gente, siendo la voz del pueblo, a esas personas es que debe aspirar, al respaldo de nuestra gente. Que haya humildad y sensibilidad para nuestro pueblo”, dijo la Gobernadora Vázquez.
“I tell Mr. Pierluisi that the most important thing is that thousands of Puerto Ricans who believed in this servant and who gave me their vote, believed in making a difference, in a different government and outside of politics. Thinking of the people, being the voice of the people, those people are the ones who you must aspire to — the support of our people. May there be humility and sensitivity for our people,” said Governor Vázquez. (Translated.)
The reality is that Puerto Rico is due for a change. Is this the year they get it? These next four months should be interesting, to say the least.