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Puerto Rico Governor Pedro Pierluisi loses re-election bid in primary upset

Puerto Rico Gov. Pedro Pierluisi conceded defeat Sunday night after losing a primary election to Rep. Jenniffer González, the island’s resident commissioner and non-voting member of Congress, effectively ending his re-election bid.

In a speech, Pierluisi called the defeat “very painful” and unexpected, while congratulating González on her victory and wishing her success as a gubernatorial candidate for Puerto Rico’s ruling party, the New Progressive Party. , or PNP, which favors statehood.

With 76% of the votes counted early Monday, González had 136,281 votes (56%), while Pierluisi had 105,548 (44%), according to the Puerto Rico Elections Commission.

The surprise came four years after González and Pierluisi ran on a joint list to win their current seats. At the time, they presented a united front in an attempt to repair the party’s image after disgraced pro-state governor Ricardo Rosselló resigned after being marred by scandal following leaks of private discussions.

Unlike the United States, the island’s political parties are based on ideals related to Puerto Rico’s territorial status. But as a U.S. territory, its public officials often must align with a continental party.

While Pierluisi and González both belong to the pro-state party, Pierluisi is a Democrat and González is a Republican.

González celebrated his victory alongside a crowd of joyful supporters.

“Today is a special day for me, for my family, for my team and for all Puerto Ricans who have chosen change,” she said. “I’m going to be a governor who’s on the streets all the time.”

González is the first female gubernatorial candidate to win a primary for the New Progressive Party. Puerto Rico elected Sila María Calderón of the Popular Democratic Party, or PPD, as its first female governor in 2000.

The PPD, which supports the island’s current territorial status, also held its primaries on Sunday. Puerto Rico Rep. Jesús Manuel Ortiz defeated Sen. Juan Zaragoza by a wide margin.

Ortiz and González will face third-place candidate Juan Dalmau of the Puerto Rican Independence Party, or PIP, in the Nov. 5 general election.

As the results came in Sunday evening, the election commission’s website crashed, frustrating those closely following the primaries.

Officials said they rushed to resolve the problem, saying they did not know what caused the site to crash but that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and other agencies were assisting.

“If it were necessary to activate the FBI given the situation, we would do so,” said Jessika Padilla, the commission’s acting chair.

Power outages were also reported at more than a dozen voting centers, including the one where Ortiz arrived to vote. The outages forced managers to revert to a manual process. Power outages are becoming more common in Puerto Rico as the U.S. territory waits for its power grid to be rebuilt since Hurricane Maria hit the island in 2017.

Recognizing this, Puerto Rico Election Commission officials rented more than a dozen generators and a private power company identified 81 alternative voting sites with guaranteed electricity.

News Source :
Gn world

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