Puerto Rico Elections Decided—Split Decision With a
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;
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.