NPP soars to victory in legislative elections
In Tuesday’s Legislative Elections, Puerto Rico’s New Progressive Party scored resounding victories, establishing large majorities in both houses of the body. The NPP clinched 11 “at large” and 14 district seats in the Senate of Puerto Rico. They made similarly impressive gains in the House, winning 13 seats. On Wednesday, the new Senate appointed Thomas Rivera Schatz to lead the body. NPP Senator Larry Seilhamer will serve as Vice President.
In the Puerto Rico House of Representatives, Johnny Mendez was confirmed as the next leader of the body, replacing disgraced representative and former speaker Jaime Perelló, who came under scrutiny for connections to unethical fundraising. Perelló is not the only politician this cycle to face unwanted attention; NPP candidates face allegations of everything from fraud to drunk driving. The scandals threaten to cast a shadow over the next legislature. Nevertheless, NPP House leader Gabriel Aviló promised to work with Mendez and promote new legislative measures.
NPP victories came on the heels of Ricardo Rosselló’s win in the gubernatorial race, and Jennifer Gonzalez’s ascension to the Resident Commissioner’s office. The two candidates and Senate New Progressives won through similar maps, performing well in the northern and western regions of the islands. NPP House candidates won seats throughout the islands. The similarities between these winning maps was largely a result of voters choosing not to split their tickets.
Among the wide senatorial field, one candidate clinched the top spot in each district; Independent Jose Vidot in San Juan I and Carolina VIII; New Progressive Zoe Laboy in Bayamon II and Arecibo III; leader-elect Thomas Schatz in Mayaguez and Guayama IV; Laurence Rodriguez in Ponce V; and Popular Democrat Eduardo Bhatia in Humacao V.