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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

González Colón won primary showing strength in rural areas

Jenniffer González Colón attributed her victory in Sunday’s New Progressive Party gubernatorial primary to her grassroots “with the people” campaign. (Comité Jenniffer González Colón)

By John McPhaul

Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González Colón won Sunday’s New Progressive Party (NPP) gubernatorial primary against Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia with strong support in the island’s rural areas, overcoming a strong showing by the governor in the San Juan and Guaynabo metro region.

Pierluisi won San Juan with solid support, 55.14% to 44.86% for González Colón, with 80.02% of vote counted and had an even greater margin of victory in Guaynabo, with 56.43% for the governor and 43.47% for the resident commissioner.

González Colón garnered 56.06% of the overall vote compared to 43.75% for Pierluisi, with 80.02% of the vote counted.

The resident commissioner won 79 precincts islandwide, compared to 10 for Pierluisi and 25 that were too close to call at press time Monday.

Only three of the island’s 40 representative districts were too close to call, within 100 votes or less, in the NPP governor’s race.

In the NPP resident commissioners race, eight of the 40 representative districts were too close to call, while Sen. William Villafañe Ramos won 26 of the districts compared to seven for Capt. Elmer Román.

As forecast, Villafañe Ramos, who is allied with Pierluisi, defeated González Colón’s ticketmate Román by 53.25% to 46.75%, a somewhat narrower margin than the gubernatorial primary.

Villafañe Ramos won 50 precincts with 14 going to Román and 50 too close to call.

González Colón attributed her victory to her grassroots “with the people” campaign

“Keeping myself in contact with the people made the difference,” she said in a television interview Monday. “This contact with the people prompted the people to turn out and vote.”

She said she finds herself surprised to be in the position to possibly be the island’s next governor.

“I come from below,” she said. “It never passed through my mind that I would be a candidate for governor.”

González Colón said she plans to be an active candidate.

“I’m going to be out in the street,” she said. “I’m not going to be stuck behind a desk.”

Meanwhile, Villafañe Ramos said the NPP ticket will be a winning formula in November’s election.

“We will be a winning duo,” he said. “I spoke well of her during the [primary] campaign, so we are going to get along well.”

Governor conceded defeat as vote count approached 30,000

Pierluisi accepted his defeat after several hours of vote counting on Sunday night.

“When we saw that it [the tabulation of votes] was already approaching 30,000 votes, it was only fair to express ourselves to you,” Pierluisi said at a press conference. “At this moment I concede the victory that was won by Jenniffer González and congratulate her for having achieved her aspiration to be the candidate for governor for the New Progressive Party for this election.”

“For the good of Puerto Rico, I hope the resident commissioner succeeds,” he added.

The governor also sent a message to his agency heads.

“Don’t be discouraged. We have work to do,” he said in his concession speech. “It doesn’t end today; we have work ahead of us.”

“God is in charge and I accept His will,” Pierluisi added.

“Although I’m hurt by what has happened and I didn’t expect it, don’t let anyone think I’m going to slow down,” he said. “I was elected for four years and I’m going to do the remainder for Puerto Rico.”

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