Puerto Rico Primary: Gonzalez Defeats Pierluisi in PNP Nomination for Governor

SAN JUAN, P.R. – Huge shakeup from Puerto Rico’s primaries. In one of the most closely watched races Jenniffer Gonzalez defeated Pedro Pierluisi for the PNP nomination for governor. We followed the candidates in Puerto Rico and share the issues the nominees will face in the November elections.  

In a party-like atmosphere, Gonzalez celebrated her victory with music, dance and fireworks. 

“I feel fortunate and grateful for all the support the people of Puerto Rico gave us,” said Gonzalez following the vote.  

The PNP race for governor was one of the top races to watch in Sunday’s primaries. Gonzalez, who is currently Puerto Rico’s Resident Commissioner challenged incumbent Governor Pedro Pierluisi.  

“This campaign was a hard campaign, it was a long campaign,” said Gonzalez. “I thank the governor as well as the volunteers who went out to convey a message. A message of change, a message of hope and that’s what we want tonight and what we want to happen.” 

Just a couple of years ago, the pair ran together on the same ticket. But hours after the polls closed and Gonzalez received more and more votes, Pierluisi conceded. The Governor wrote on social media saying in part he will continue his job through his term for progress, work, social justice and statehood. Pierluisi told us before he cast his vote for himself, he hoped to get reelected.  

“What I offer to voters is the stability, the continuity of a two term governorship,” said Pierluisi before he voted. “We haven’t had one in two decades.”  

Meanwhile in the PPD race, Puerto rico Sen. Juan Zaragoza was defeated by Rep. Jesus Manuel Ortiz. Their party support’s the island’s status quo as a US territory. Speaking with voters, the future of Puerto Rico’s status is a top concern.  

“I believe in equality, I believe in statehood, that is something that is the main goal of our party,” said Gonzalez.  

Now that the primaries are over, the nominees will have to tackle issues plaguing the island, like slow recovery from hurricanes Maria and Irma, the economy and the energy crisis. Some Puerto Ricans were even reminded of this issue during voting hours on Sunday. LUMA Energy shared on social media that bad weather impacted a couple of voting centers and were working to restore power.  

As for November, both Manuel Ortiz and Gonzalez said there’s a lot of work to be done. 

We asked Gonzalez what it meant to vote for herself in the primaries: “Actually I just looked twice because I was saying I never expected in my life I was running for governor anytime,” said Gonzalez. “So seeing my face in a ballot it’s quite strange but I think my party gave me the opportunity to climb up in the different positions in state representative, resident commissioner and now a governor race.”