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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

NPP jumps out ahead in filing of candidacies

Elmer Román made his candidacy for resident commissioner official on Sunday. (Facebook/Jenniffer Gonzalez Colón)

By The Star Staff

Just two weeks after beginning the opening process for the presentation of primary candidates and candidates for public office in the State Elections Commission, the New Progressive Party (NPP), led by Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Pierluisi, is at the forefront, having nominated at least 128 candidates, outpacing other political parties.

NPP Electoral Commissioner Vanessa Santo Domingo Cruz reported that, as of early Sunday, 44 candidates for the island Senate and 80 for the House of Representatives had filed their candidacies with the Office of the Electoral Commissioners. In the case of mayors, 77 candidates filed their candidacies along with their municipal legislators, three candidates for the resident commissioner post and one for the governorship.

Among the most recent of those candidates to make their election bids official were Elmer Román, the ticketmate of gubernatorial candidate Jenniffer Gonzalez Colón in next year’s NPP primaries, who made his bid for resident commissioner official on Sunday afternoon in Yauco, and Humberto Cobo Estrella and Pablo Ramos Jr., who filed their respective candidacies for mayor of Carolina and Río Grande, respectively.

Meanwhile, some of the files of candidates for various positions filed in recent days are in the screening process with the party’s Candidate Evaluation Committee, which would raise the figure to an even higher number.

The evaluation committee, made up of five members, has the responsibility of evaluating the merits and requirements of the candidates, in accordance with the provisions of NPP regulations and the 2020 Electoral Code. Once this process is concluded, the candidate is officially filed with the State Elections Commission (SEC).

“The NPP has always taught organization and structure,” Santo Domingo said. “As we anticipated, we have a solid party, organized and prepared to win big in the next elections. We have candidates for all positions, the majority of the incumbents filed for re-election and many new candidates entered the political arena as a result of the reorganization work of the community that was carried out last year.”

The pro-statehood electoral commissioner said that according to data from the SEC, only 14 candidates for the Senate, 33 candidates for the House of Representatives, one candidate for the resident commissioner and two for governor had filed as of early Sunday under the rival Popular Democratic Party (PDP).

In the Dignity Project meanwhile, only two candidates for the Senate, four for the House of Representatives and one for the resident commissioner post had filed, while no candidate appeared in the records for the Puerto Rican Independence Party or the Citizen Victory Movement, Santo Domingo Cruz noted.

“This is an obvious example of organization, security and clearly established goals,” she said. “Enthusiasm and certainty prevail that the electorate will have the best candidates for all positions in the NPP ballot.”

Likewise, the NPP has taken the lead in collecting endorsements. A total of 21 candidates completed the total number of endorsements required by the Electoral Code, on the newly released SIEN electronic platform.

Among the incumbents having done are Pierluisi, Thomás Rivera Schatz, Gabriel Rodríguez Aguiló, Gabriel Hernández, Pichi Torres Zamora, Carlos “Johnny” Méndez, Jorge Navarro, Gregorio Matías, Juan Oscar Morales, Joel Franqui, Wilson Román, Yashira Lebrón, Wanda del Valle, Lornna Soto, Karina Nieves and Mickey López.

Among the candidates with 100% validated endorsements are Héctor “Jun” Collazo Ayala, Jesús Figueroa Torres, Julio Menéndez, José “Chino” Rey, Marcos Fabian Vargas and Ángel Toledo López.

Primary applicants have until Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2024 to submit no less than 50% of the endorsement requests required of them, for the position for which they intend to compete. They must present the required amount on or before Thursday, Feb. 15, 2024, the NPP electoral commissioner said.

PDP’s Cabrera Fuentes enters race for mayor of Guaynabo

The municipal committee of the PDP in Guaynabo, meanwhile, celebrated the official recognition of businessman Ernesto Cabrera Fuentes as a candidate for mayor of the city, along with his immediate family, supporters and candidates for the Municipal Legislature, which in the case of Guaynabo is 11.

The ceremony took place in the house where Cabrera Fuentes grew up in the Guaraguao neighborhood, after attending church on the same street.

“This is my community, this is my people, this is my city,” the mayoral candidate said. “I am the son of Ernesto Cabrera, who was a representative to the Chamber for Guaynabo, and Mrs. Fuentes, a teacher in the public education system. From them I learned to value public service and to forge my future with effort and work. With the experience of having worked in both the central government and the municipal structure, and applying the principles of free enterprise on a personal level, I have made this decision because Guaynabo deserves much more than what it lives with today.”

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