SAN JUAN – Former Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi, 60, and Isabela Mayor Carlos Delgado Altieri, 61 , will face off in the race for governor of Puerto Rico in the Nov. 3 elections after winning their respective New Progressive Party (NPP) and Popular Democratic Party (PDP) primaries, which ended Sunday with a relatively low participation rate.
After voting ended at 4 p.m. Sunday — the second day of primaries, after delays in the availability of ballots marred the voting day scheduled a week earlier — Pierluisi maintained a sizable lead over incumbent Gov. Wanda Vázquez, who was trailing by about 15%, or 38,000 votes, early morning Monday, with close to 80% of polling stations reported, according to the State Elections Commission.
Meanwhile, Delgado came out as the surprise winner on the PDP side, securing a commanding victory over veteran Sen. Eduardo Bhatia and San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, with 63.1% of votes compared with Bhatia's 23.6% and Soto's 13.3%, according to the latest poll numbers posted a little after midnight.
For the NPP senator-at-large delegation, the top positions were held by new faces in the party. William Villafañe, a former chief of staff of ousted Gov. Ricardo Rosselló Nevares, obtained the lead in votes, followed by Gregorio Matías, a former police officer; Keren Riquelme, a pastor and professor; and veteran lawmaker Itzamar Peña.
Senate President Thomas Rivera Schatz barely got on the general elections ticket, settling in fifth place, a far cry from previous times in which he was usually the top vote-getter, while controversial candidates Héctor Martínez and Evelyn Vázquez were left out of the running altogether.
On the representative-at-large ticket for the NPP, José Torres Zamora, José Enrique Meléndez, José Aponte Hernández and Lourdes Ramos received the most votes.
Meanwhile, María Milagros Charbonier, a divisive figure in the party who is the subject of an FBI investigation and was arrested by federal authorities on corruption charges Monday morning, came in last.
On the PDP side of things, José Luis Dalmau, Aníbal José Torres, Brenda Lápez de Arrarás, Luis Vega Ramos and former Treasury Secretary Juan Zaragoza came out on top, while Héctor Ferrer (son and namesake of the party president, who died in 2018), Jesús Manuel Ortiz, Keyliz Méndez , Yaramary Torres, Gabriel López and Enid Monge did the same for the representative-at-large primary ballot.
While the PDP has had elections for party president, the party's gubernatorial primary this year was the first in its 82-year history .
One factor for the low participation rate was the fear of contracting Covid-19, which likely kept many voters away from the polls. The island's population has also decreased by about 200,000 people during the last four years.
In the municipal mayor side of things, Miguel Romero secured the PNP candidacy for San Juan, while Guaynabo incumbent Ángel Pérez did the same against two other pre- candidates, among them Edward O'Neill, are of former Mayor Héctor O'Neill, who resigned after being accused of sexual harassment in 2017. Elsewhere on the island, Ponce Mayor María Meléndez secured her candidacy for re-election, while Lornna Soto did the same in Canóvanas.
New Progressive Party:
Pedro Pierluisi : 138,090 (57.8 percent)
Wanda Vázquez Garced : 100,865 (42.2 percent)
From reporting of 3,288 polling stations out of 4,120, or 79.8 percent
Total votes cast: 238,955
Registered in polling stations: 1,957,761
Total ballots cast: 244,327
Participation : 12.35 percent
Popular Democratic Party:
Carlos Delgado Altieri : 105,326 (63.1 percent)
Eduardo Bhatia : 39,371 (23.6 percent)
Carmen Yulín Cruz Soto : 22,189 (13.3 percent)
From reporting of 1,578 polling stations out of 2,133, or 74 percent
Total votes cast : 166,886
Registered in polling stations: 1,770,383
Total ballots cast: 168,664
Participation: 9.5 percent