Yesterday, November 8, 2016, the people of Puerto Rico went to the polls in order to elect all officeholders for the next four years. This included the election of the new governor of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the Resident Commissioner before the United States Congress, as neither Governor Alejandro García-Padilla, nor outgoing Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi were on the ballot. It also allowed voters the opportunity to elect all members of both the Senate and the House of Representatives, as well as all mayors and their corresponding municipal legislators.
The following is a summary of the election results:
Dr. Ricardo Rosselló (NPP) was elected Governor achieving 41.76% of the vote, edging Dr. David Bernier by approximately 45,000 votes, and with a margin of victory of 2.83%. At this moment, 97.32% of the electoral colleges have already been counted.
In accordance with Act No. 197-2002 (1 L.P.R.A. §458-477), officially known as the “Government Transition Process Act”, no later than four days after the Election, Governor-Elect Rosselló will be selecting the members of his Transition Committee, which will work alongside the Outgoing Transition Committee in preparing and submitting the corresponding Transition Report, no later than December 31st of this year. Aside from that, in the coming days and weeks, the Governor-Elect will be announcing the names of his Cabinet appointees, as well as the rest of the agency heads.
Former House Speaker Jenniffer González (NPP) was elected Resident Commissioner with 48.75% of the vote, surpassing former House Minority Leader Héctor Ferrer by over 21,500 votes, and with a margin of victory of 1.49%. At this moment, 95.45% of the electoral colleges have been counted. It is noteworthy to point out that the Resident Commissioner-Elect is also the Chair of the Republican Party of Puerto Rico, and due to her affiliation, she will be a member of the House Republican Conference in the United States House of Representatives.
With at least 95% of all electoral colleges reporting, the Senate of Puerto Rico will be changing hands from its current control by the PDP, to the following composition:
- 21 NPP
- 7 PDP (including 3 additional un-elected members)
- 1 PIP
- 1 Independent Senator
The NPP won seven senatorial districts, and won one of the two seats corresponding to the remaining senatorial district (Humacao). With regards to the eleven At-Large seats, the NPP elected its six candidates, the PDP three of its six candidates, the PIP elected its lone candidate and independent candidate Dr. José Vargas-Vidot was also elected. Nonetheless, in accordance with Article III, Section 9 of the Constitution of Puerto Rico, the three At-Large candidates who did not get elected by voters will be added to the PDP delegation.
There seems to be a clear consensus that Thomas Rivera Schatz will be the incoming Senate President. The remaining leadership positions will be determined in the upcoming senatorial caucus to be potentially held later today.
House of Representatives
With at least 95% of all electoral colleges reporting, the House of Representatives will be changing hands from its current control by the PDP, to the following composition:
- 34 NPP
- 16 PDP
- 1 PIP
The NPP won twenty-eight out of the forty representative districts, with one additional district (District 31 – Caguas and Gurabo), where its candidate is behind by only 1 vote (and with only 96.92 of the electoral colleges reporting). With regards to the eleven At-Large seats, the NPP elected its six candidates, the PDP four of its six candidates (though potentially the un-elected At-Large candidate with the highest vote total will be added to the PDP delegation if District 31 ends up in NPP hands), and the PIP elected its lone candidate.
In the House, it is still not clear who will be the incoming Speaker, as there are three declared candidates for the position (José Enrique "Quique" Meléndez, Johnny Méndez and Gabriel Rodríguez Aguiló). As in the Senate, the rest of the leadership positions will be selected in an upcoming caucus, which is going to be held by the end of this week.
Contrary to the results at the “state level”, the results at the municipal level ran counter to the trend where the NPP held an advantage over the PDP. As a result, the PDP won 45 out of the 78 municipalities, including the retention of San Juan which had been an important NPP target in this Election, as well as those of Carolina, Caguas and Mayagüez, among others. Meanwhile, the NPP held on to the municipalities of Ponce, Guaynabo, Bayamón, Aguadilla, Fajardo, Manatí, among others.
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