Meet Puerto Rico’s Candidates for Governor

Major Candidate Puerto Rico

Graphic via Desirée Tapia for The Americano

By Mivette Vega

September 17, 2020

Seasoned politicians and new candidates from six parties compete for the governor’s chair in Puerto Rico’s upcoming election.

SAN JUAN — In November, Puerto Rican voters in the island will choose a new governor. They must pick between candidates from three new political parties or those from parties that have dominated the island’s political arena for decades.

The three traditional parties represent ideologies related to the political status of the island. The New Progressive Party (PNP by its Spanish initials) is pro-statehood, the Popular Democratic Party (PPD) is pro-commonwealth, and the Puerto Rico Independence Party (PIP by its Spanish initials) is pro-independence.

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Among the new political parties is Movimiento Victoria Ciudadana (MVC), founded in December 2019 with an anti-colonialism and anti-corruption platform. Its proposals are based on economic and environmental development.

Proyecto Dignidad, established in March 2019, is a party that promotes Puerto Rican self-determination; safety, health care, and education for all; and depoliticizing public services and the justice system.   

The Movimiento de Conciencia party’s mission is to bring people together beyond parties and ideologies. It believes in equitable treatment from the United States, especially regarding the PROMESA Law (Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act) that established an oversight board with broad powers of budgetary and financial control over Puerto Rico.

These are the candidates for some of the top electoral positions.

Candidates for Governor:

  • Pedro Pierluisi — The candidate from the incumbent party (PNP), after his win in the recent primaries against current Gov. Wanda Vázquez, is a former secretary of the local Department of Justice (1993-1997) and former resident commissioner in Washington, D.C. (2009-2017). Pierluisi is a Democrat; he was co-president of Barack Obama’s campaign on the island during the 2008 elections. In 2019, he was briefly Puerto Rico’s governor after the resignation of Ricardo Rosselló. His oath was nullified following a petition from Senate President Thomas Rivera Schatz to the Supreme Court.  Pierluisi proposes plans to ensure fair pay for government employees, protect farmers and promote their products, and improve access to critical information during emergencies.
  • Charlie Delgado — The mayor of the town of Isabela, prevailed in the primary elections with a solid 62.97% lead against his opponents, PPD leaders Sen. Eduardo Bhatia and San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz. He has served as mayor of Isabela since 2001. His proposals address economic development, social inequality, and public security. Delgado is not registered as a Democrat or Republican.
  • Sen. Juan Dalmau — One of the PIP’s main leaders, he was named general secretary of the party in 2002. Among Dalmau’s proposals is the establishment of constitutional amendments to better address the current needs of Puerto Ricans. He proposes a new relationship between Puerto Rico and the United States as a non-colonial territory, and economic development amidst the current crisis. In July 2000, he protested in Vieques against US military practices on the island and was arrested for civil disobedience as a result.
  • Alexandra Lúgaro — The lawyer obtained 175,831 votes,  11.13% of the total count, in the 2016 elections when she ran as an independent candidate. Now Lúgaro is the MVC candidate for governor. Among her proposals are creating jobs that pay more than the minimum wage, addressing violence education in schools, eliminating wage inequality, and restoring credibility in government institutions.
  • Dr. César Vázquez Muñiz — As the Proyecto Dignidad candidate for governor, his proposals include increasing the production of goods and services, restoring the credibility of Puerto Rico within the US government, and improving the Electric Power Authority to provide better and less expensive service.
  • Eliezer Molina Pérez — He is running for governor as an independent candidate for the Movimiento de Conciencia party. His proposal includes increasing the gross national product, developing a plan for drivers to compete with Uber, and supporting local farm production.

Candidates for Resident Commissioner:

  • Jenniffer González — The current resident commissioner from the PNP is seeking re-election for her position. The Republican plans to continue obtaining federal funds to alleviate the economic impact caused by COVID-19. González is promoting a plebiscite for Puerto Ricans to vote “statehood yes or no” on November 3, even though the Federal Department of Justice has not approved the $2.5 million to make it happen.
  • Anibal Acevedo Vilá — The former PPD governor from 2005 to 2009 is running for resident commissioner, a position he occupied from 2001 to 2005. The Democrat is driving a bill that promotes the resurgence of the pharmaceutical industry on the island. Acevedo Vilá is against the plebiscite.
  • Luis Roberto Piñero — The PIP candidate is a pediatrician who ran for mayor of San Juan in the general elections of 2008 and 2012. He is promoting a decolonization plan in Washington, D.C.
  • Zayira Jordán Conde — An entrepreneur, she is the resident commissioner candidate for the MVC. Conde has presented herself as a mother of five children and a gender-based violence survivor. She promises to work on a decolonization agenda, and aims to repeal the PROMESA Act, renegotiate the island’s public debt, and work on economic development.
  • Ada Norah Henríquez — The Proyecto Dignidad candidate is a lawyer who wants to focus on restoring Puerto Rico’s credibility in Washington, D.C., use federal funds legally, and promote economic development.

 Candidates for San Juan Mayor:

  • Miguel Romero — The PNP senator was secretary of the local Department of Labor and Human Resources from 2009 to 2013. He was also Puerto Rico chief of staff from 2012 to 2013.  Among his proposals are better sanitation for the capital city, the creation of tax-free areas, as well as the revitalization of some of the city’s neighborhoods.
  • Rossana López — The PPD senator’s proposals include the implementation of an app for citizens to report road damage, creating a plan for city maintenance in conjunction with the island’s government, eliminating clandestine landfills, and establishing an effective anti-crime plan.
  • Adrián González Costa — The former PIP electoral commissioner has a plan for the economic self-sustainability of the city. He promises to distribute the municipal budget based on community priorities and create a municipal development bank.
  • Manuel Natal Albelo — A member of the House of Representatives since 2013, Natal is the MVC candidate for mayor of San Juan. He began his political career in the PPD but left the party in 2018. In July, he launched One Hundred Percent San Juan, a plan for his first 100 days as city mayor. The proposal includes the planning, repair, and maintenance of parks, green areas, roads, and buildings within the capital.  
  • Nelson Rosario Rodríguez — The lawyer from the Proyecto Dignidad party who recently joined the San Juan mayoral race said he will make San Juan “the best city in the United States.”

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