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Puerto Rico Elections Decided—Split Decision With a Statehood Tilt


In Puerto Rico, the November elections produced mixed results, with PNP Statehood Party gaining in all venues—except the race for governor. In that race, the pro-Commonwealth PNP candidate, Anibal Acevedo Vila, won by the slimmest of margins of approximately 3,500 votes from the nearly 2 million (1,977,541) cast, after a recount and court cases at both Puerto Rico and federal levels that played out until late December.

For the first time ever, Puerto Ricans split their vote between Governor and Resident Commissioner. Beyond winning the governor’s race, the PDP had little to be excited about. The PNP gained control of the majority of over 70 municipalities on the island, including re-election of Jorge Santini, Mayor of San Juan. Statehood forces also won a majority in both Houses of the Puerto Rico legislature. In the Senate, the PNP controls 18 seats; PDP 8 seats; PIP one seat. In the House of Representatives the PNP has 32 members; PDP 18; PIP one.

Significantly, the election of Luis Fortuņo gives statehood forces a strong voice in Washington.  Fortuņo is a Republican, the first elected in Puerto Rico as Resident Commissioner.  An attorney, he has extensive experience both in Washington and in various positions in Puerto Rico government during the Rossello administration. The election of Fortuņo is a strong statement by Puerto Rico that should statehood be achieved, both Republican and Democrat parties would contest the island. Opponents of statehood have long used the argument that a State of Puerto Rico would be solidly in the Democrat camp.  Fortuņo pokes a large hole in that argument.


 

 
 
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