Above: Alejandro Garcia Padilla
By the Caribbean Journal staff
Challenger Alejandro Garcia Padilla won an exceedingly close election over incumbent Governor Luis Fortuño.
Padilla, the leader of Puerto Rico’s Popular Democratic Party, won by the narrowest of margins, less than a full percentage point, according to data from Puerto Rico’s Commission of Elections.
With 96.35 percent of the vote counted, Padilla finished with 873,072 votes, or 47.85 percent.
Fortuño finished with 858,361 votes, or 47.04 percent of the vote.
Fellow New Progressive Party member Pedro Pierluisi, Puerto Rico’s current Resident Commissioner in US Congress, managed to eke out a similarly close win over challenger Rafael Cox Alomar, securing a new four-year term.
Fortuno has been seen as a rising star in the US Republican party, and was even mentioned as a possible candidate for vice president.
It’s not clear what the loss means for Fortuño’s political future.
Puerto Rico also voted on the question of its political status, with a majority (around 53 percent) of Puerto Ricans voting in favour of changing its current status.
Around 63 percent of Puerto Ricans voted that, should the territory’s status be changed, it should be to that of a US state.
However, around 450,000 voters did not answer that second question.
Padilla’s PDP party is in favour of preserving Puerto Rico’s status as a commonwealth, however.
Less than 5 percent voted for full independence.