Fierce

Puerto Rico’s Gubernatorial Race Is Neck-And-Neck With Many Ballots Still Uncounted

More than one year after former Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló was ousted after a Telegram scandal, the people of the Caribbean archipelago have voted for a new leader – but ballots in the crowded election are still being counted.

Puerto Rico’s gubernatorial race looks similar to the U.S. presidential election: two leading male candidates neck-and-neck.

Unlike President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden, however, the leading Puerto Rican contenders, Pedro Pierluisi and Carlos Delgado Altieri, are both Democrats. What drastically separates the two candidates are their local political parties: Pierluisi is the nominee of the New Progressive Party (PNP), which advocates for statehood, and Delgado Altieri is the pick of the Popular Democratic Party (PPD), which wants to continue as a commonwealth of the United States with limited self-government.

With 95% of polling stations reporting, the latest numbers put Pierluisi, at 32.4%, ahead of Delgado Altieri, who has 31.4% of the votes.

While ballots are still being counted, Pierluisi, an attorney and lobbyist, declared himself a winner on Tuesday night during a victory party.

Delgado Altieri, the former mayor of the northwestern municipality of Isabela and current president of the PPD, called the declaration “irresponsible” and noted that all the votes need to be tallied. If their difference reaches less than half a percentage point, there would be an automatic recount, Bloomberg reports.

Overall, Puerto Rican candidates faced a dwindling voter base. According to U.S. News & World Report, eligible voters dropped from 2.87 million in 2016 to 2.36 million in 2020, largely due to emigration following multiple economic and climate crises. Even more, with a voter turnout of 51.32%, compared to 55% in 2016, voter participation is also down, likely due to a distrust in Puerto Rican government amid back-to-back political scandals. 

Regardless of which candidate wins, the election is a historic one.

It’s the first time in recent history that either of Puerto Rico’s two main parties failed to secure more than 40% of the overall vote. Puerto Ricans, largely young voters who grew up amid a financial crisis that has since been compounded by the disastrous Hurricane María as well as recent earthquakes, have found themselves disillusioned by both the PNP and PPD parties and have voted in significant numbers for pro-independence and new party candidates. Alexandra Lugaro of the Citizens’ Victory Movement and Juan Dalmau of the Puerto Rico Independence Party have received 15% and 14% of the vote, respectively. It’s the first time since the 1950s that pro-independence parties have reached double-digit support.

Puerto Rico-based journalist and political analyst Jonathan Lebron-Ayala told NPR that rebuilding a decimated Puerto Rico has motivated many young islanders to think outside of the archipelago’s two-party system. “We’re going to see a major change not in this election but maybe into 2024 or 2028 because the numbers in the general demographics with these two old parties are very, very weak,” Lebron-Ayala said. 

In addition to the general election on Tuesday, Puerto Rican voters were also presented with a nonbinding referendum that asked, “Should Puerto Rico be admitted immediately into the union as a state?”

While more than 52% said yes, it must be noted that many Puerto Ricans, understanding that the referendum holds no weight, skip the question altogether. U.S. Congress would have to approve of any changes to Puerto Rico’s political status.

As a U.S. territory, Puerto Rico cannot vote in the presidential election and does not have voting representation in the U.S. Congress.

However, Jenniffer González, Puerto Rico’s resident commissioner, which is a non-voting congressional representative, won a second term on Tuesday night. The pro-Trump, pro-statehood González is a long-time supporter of Pierluisi. 

Pierluisi, who formerly held the resident commissioner seat, briefly served as governor following Rosselló’s resignation last year. Rosselló, who is a member of the same party as Pierluisi, named the 2020 contender as the next governor without him being confirmed by both the House and the Senate as secretary of state. Pierluisi took office on August 2, 2019, but was removed days later on August 7 after the Puerto Rico Supreme Court ruled that Pierluisi was sworn in on unconstitutional grounds. 

The unelected Wanda Vázquez Garced, a former secretary of justice who is also a member of the same PPD party, has served as governor since. In August, Vázquez lost the pro-statehood nomination to Pierluisi. 

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Team Trump’s Latest Appearance At The Oversight Committee Hearing Was A Complete Trainwreck Oh And Giuliani Farted

Entertainment

Team Trump’s Latest Appearance At The Oversight Committee Hearing Was A Complete Trainwreck Oh And Giuliani Farted

Alex Wong / Getty

Something stinks in the White House and it’s not just Donald Trump and his inability to cope with being a loser.

Rudy Giuliani’s campaign effort to undermine the results of the 2020 presidential election continues to waft through hearing rooms like a rotten gaseous scent… which, according to video recordings, not unlike the one Guiliani is suspected of releasing during Wednesday night’s conspiracy-filled hearing in Lansing, Michigan.

Giuliana stirred up a rash of cackles this week when the audible sounds of his stomach were heard during the hearings.

Four hours into the lengthy event, two fart sounds could be heard while Giuliani delivered his speeches. During the Michigan hearing, Michigan state Rep. Darrin Camilleri asked Guiliani a question about the recent New York Times story which reported that Giuliani talked with President Donald Trump about seeking pardons for himself last week.

“The discussions between Mr. Trump and Mr. Giuliani occurred as the former New York mayor has become one of the loudest voices pushing baseless claims of widespread fraud in the 2020 election, which Mr. Trump still proclaims publicly that he won,” NYT reported. “Many of Mr. Trump’s longtime aides have refused to do his bidding to try to overturn an election that President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. won by nearly seven million votes. But Mr. Giuliani has repeatedly thrust himself into the spotlight to cast doubt on the results, which has ingratiated him with the president.”

Guiliani objected to Rep. Camilleri’s questions and accused him of defamation.

“I will ask that he be disciplined for that,” Giuliani requested into the microphone which picked up the first pedo sound.

Not 90 seconds later, Camilleri asked Giuliani to address Attorney General Bill Barr’s statement that federal prosecutors had yet to come across evidence of election fraud.

“The answer that I gave you was that they didn’t bother to interview a single witness,” Giuliani replied as another louder even larger sounding pedo came in through the mic.

It didn’t take long for Giuliani’s loud fart to go viral on Twitter.

HuffPost reporter Ryan Reilly shared the clip on Twitter on Wednesday night. It has since been viewed more than 1.6 million times.

Users were quick to note that Jenna Ellis, another attorney taking part in Giuliani’s campaign of lies about a Trump 2020 victory. (Which did not happen) could be seen reacting to the noise by glancing at him over her shoulder.

Like the hot air Giuliani blew into the hearing, there were quite a few bizarre moments that came about.

Giuliani brought in a parade of alleged election fraud witnesses who all managed to make outrageously conspiratorial and racist statements during the hearing. Plus, according to Buzzfeed, “Giuliani was not sworn in at the hearing, so he was under no legal obligation to tell the truth.”

One “witness,” Melissa Carone drew audible laughter during the hearing for her clown-like performance.

According to The Guardian, Carone is a contract worker for Dominion Voting Systems and “appeared before a Michigan house panel on Wednesday and insisted, without providing evidence, that tens of thousands of votes had been counted twice.” Her aggressive approach to her claims quickly drew viral attention on Twitter from users who were quick to compare her to a Saturday Night Live character.

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Here Are The Southern California Latino Politicians Gov. Newsom Should Consider For Kamala Harris’ Empty Seat

Things That Matter

Here Are The Southern California Latino Politicians Gov. Newsom Should Consider For Kamala Harris’ Empty Seat

Carlos Avila Gonzalez / The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

Now that Sen. Kamala Harris will Vice President-elect Harris, there is a lot of talk about who Gov. Gavin Newsom should appoint to the seat. There is a lot of pressure on Gov. Newsom to appoint a person of color and we agree. Here are six Latino politicians from Southern California that should be appointed to the vacant Senate seat.

Hilda Solis

Solis’s political career started in 1992 when she ran for and won a seat in the California State Assembly. In that position, Solis made her presence known and was a crucial voice in the debate on undocumented immigrants backing legislation to make college accessible to undocumented immigrants living in California. Since then, Solis has served in the California State Senate, represented California in the House of Representatives, served as Secretary of Labor under President Obama, and is currently on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.

Solis has history, experience, and knowledge of politics from local to national levels. In that time, Solis has backed and written legislation and policies on every issue ranging from domestic violence to the environment.

Robert Garcia

Garica is the current mayor of Long Beach and has established himself on the international stage. As mayor of Long Beach, Garcia has worked tirelessly to address climate change and establish strong trade partnerships with countries around the world.

As an openly gay politician, Garcia has used his time in office to work to expand LGBTQ+ rights around the world. The mayor has visited Peru and Honduras Victory Institute and the State Department to take the fight to Latin America.

Nanette Barrágan

Barrágan is currently a congresswoman reprensenting California’s 44th congressional district. The congresswoman would bring a legal background often needed by members of the Senate. Barrágan started to get involved with politics working on African-American outreach for the Clinton administration. Barrágan also spent time working with the NAACP working on health policy and racial health disparities.

Barrágan was one of the members of Congress to go to the U.S.-Mexico border during the Trump administration. Barrágan recorded and exposed the conditions of people legally seeking asylum under Trump’s assault on migrants.

Kevin de León

De León started his political career in 2006 when he was elected to the California State Assembly. After a brief tenure, de León was elected to the California State Senate where he worked on a wide range of issues. De León worked with his colleagues on issues like affirmative consent, the environment, gun control, and transportation.

De León ran for the Senate in 2018 against Sen Dianne Feinstein and lost. Now, de León serves on the Los Angeles City Council filling José Huizar’s former seat. Huizar stepped down due to an investigation into corruption and birbery.

Norma Torres

Torres has had a steady career in politics starting on the Pomona City Council before becoming Mayor of Pomona. From there, Torres served in both the California State Assembly and State Senate before becoming a member of Congress representing California’s 35th congressional district.

As a member of Congress, Torres has worked on the following committees:

  • United States House Committee on Appropriations
    • Subcommittee on Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies
    • Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs
    • Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government
  • United States House Committee on Rules

Alex Padilla

Padilla has been a public servant for California for decades serving as president of the Los Angeles City Council before being part of the California State Senate. In 2015, Padilla became the Secretary of State of California. In 2017, Padilla pushed back against the Trump administration and refused to turn over voter data to the administration. He then went on to win reelection with 64.5 percent of the vote in 2018.

Padilla is currently the favorite to be Gov. Newsom’s choice to fill Vice President-elect Harris’ vacant seat in the Senate.

READ: Kamala Harris’s Husband Is Quitting His Job to Become America’s First ‘Second Gentleman’

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