Jenniffer González wins historic primary, defeats Gov. Pierluisi for PNP candidacy

Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González beat Gov. Pedro Pierluisi in a primary, June 2, 2024. AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File.

By Mivette Vega

June 3, 2024

Unforeseen events marked election day, as more than 6,000 LUMA customers were without electricity service, affecting hundreds of polling stations. As a result, the votes could not be counted electronically.

Puerto Rico Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González defeated Gov. Pedro Pierluisi in a primary election on the island, on June 2.

Both were competing to be the gubernatorial nominee for the New Progressive Party (PNP by its Spanish initials).

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A little before 11:00 p.m., Pierluisi acknowledged defeat and admitted that he “did not expect it.” By then the State Election Commission (CEE) had given partial results showing González with a 56% advantage.

“What happened is very painful, and I didn’t expect it, but let no one think that I’m going to slow down in the remainder of these four years,” Pierluisi said.

Unforeseen events marked election day, as more than 6,000 LUMA customers were without electricity service, thus affecting hundreds of polling stations, so the votes could not be counted electronically.

There were also problems with counting 60,000 early votes, and the CEE page went out of service due to an alleged hack.

With this victory, González is the first woman gubernatorial candidate to secure a primary win for the PNP.

González arrived at her campaign headquarters a little after 11:00 p.m.

“The time for primaries has passed. The time for attacks has passed. Now, as a PNP gubernatorial candidate, I am committed to several things. The first is to be in the streets, to listen to the people, to defend them, and the day the people of Puerto Rico give me that mandate, in November, they will have a government of sensitivity, with a sense of urgency, that will to be providing service to people, not putting our hand in their pockets,” she said.

Running with González for the position of resident commissioner was senior US naval military officer Elmer Román, a former secretary of state for Puerto Rico, while Puerto Rico Sen. William Villafañe was seeking the position under Pierluisi. On Monday, Villafañe had secured 53% of the votes and Román 47%, with 80% of voting centers reporting.

Jesús Manuel Ortiz will be the candidate for the Popular Democratic Party (PPD), after defeating Juan Zaragoza, with 61.5% over 38.5%.

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“Today the PPD and all of Puerto Rico won. We demonstrated that internal competition processes, no matter how difficult they may be, can occur without creating divisions. (…) We fulfilled what they expected from their party. We have taught,” Ortiz said.

González and Ortiz will face gubernatorial candidates Juan Dalmau for the Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP), and Javier Jiménez Pérez for the Dignity Project (PD by its Spanish initials).



  • Mivette Vega

    Mivette Vega is a seasoned journalist and multimedia reporter whose stories center the Latino community. She is passionate about justice, equality, environmental matters, and animals. She is a Salvadorrican—Salvadorian that grew up in Puerto Rico—that has lived in San Juan, Venice, Italy, and Miami.

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