Dalmau, in 3rd-4th place, sounds, looks like a winner

By John McPhaul

The votes had barely begun to be counted, but Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP) gubernatorial candidate Juan Dalmau sounded like a winner on Tuesday even though at press time he polled in third place, up from fourth and further back earlier in the night.

“This isn’t a process that has been started that we intend to finish. This is a new process,” Dalmau said at PIP headquarters in Puerto Nuevo a little after the polls closed at 5 p.m.

PIP elder statesman Rubén Berríos met Dalmau at the headquarters with a huge hug.

Berríos said Dalmau was the man of the hour.

“I was the leader in ‘52,” Berríos said. “He is the leader of ‘20.”

The atmosphere outside of PIP party headquarters was electric with a sound truck blasting music and PIP devotees handing out green and white flags to horn-honking passersby.

Earlier in the day, a huge line wrapped around the Escuela Cedín in Guaynabo where Dalmau voted a little after 10 in the morning.

Anticipating a Legislature without a clear majority, Dalmau said “[w]e are looking forward to an atmosphere of cooperation and dialogue that is going to require maturity and patience.”

By his side was PIP Senate candidate María de Lourdes Santiago. Excited for the support of new voters, de Lourdes Santiago said she didn’t expect the number of new PIP followers. The support grew since their campaign launch.

“Today we don’t only celebrate the results of elections, we also celebrate the rebirth of hope for Puerto Ricans,” de Lourdes said.

In Puerto Nuevo at Eugenia María de Hostos School, a smaller line of voters formed.

“The important thing now is to have a cleanup,” said Noel Hernández, 71, who said he voted for Popular Democratic Party candidate Carlos “Charlie” Delgado Altieri for governor.

Edgar López, 47, said he was voting for change.

“We have to have a better future,” he said.

Lizbeth Barett, 19, voted in her first election.

“I’m voting for a change in Puerto Rico,” she said.

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