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February 28, 2003
Copyright © 2003 PUERTO RICO HERALD. All Rights Reserved. 

Should Rossello & Pesquera Contest In An NPP Primary Election?

Results of the most recent Herald reader poll show a significant outpouring of support for the recently announced candidacy of Pedro Rossello in his race for Governor of Puerto Rico in 2004. When one compares last week’s figures to the polling done in the Herald twelve weeks earlier, the adjective "significant" needs to be replaced by qualifiers like "startling," or in the parlance of our teenagers, "awesome."

The New Progressive Party’s (NPP) former governor (1992 – 2000) rose 45 points in support, drawing it from all other NPP possible contenders, as well as from the incumbent Governor, Popular Democratic Party (PDP) leader, Sila Calderon. Half of his gain was at the expense of his principal rival for the post, NPP President, Carlos Pesquera. All other NPP candidates also suffered from the Rossello onslaught.

The following is a comparison of the way Herald readers handicapped candidates in the two polls.  

% + or -
Sila Calderon (PDP)
- 5%
Carlos Pesquera (NPP)
- 24%
Jorge Santini (NPP)
- 15%
Carlos Romero B (NPP)
- 1%
Pedro Rossello (NPP)
+ 45%

 Enthusiasm for Rossello is not limited to Herald readers. The buzz in Puerto Rico is palpable, as former Pesquera supporters in the NPP are flocking to Rossello, even though the former Governor has yet to set foot on the island since he made his startling announcement. He has scheduled a triumphant touchdown in San Juan for March 15th to begin his campaign.

Carlos Pesquera is still sorting through the wreckage to his base caused by the Rossello hurricane. Despite the fact that party support seems to be sliding away from him, the previous NPP front-runner to challenge Sila Calderon is continuing to campaign for new backers and is trying to stiffen the spines of loyalists. Recent press reports indicate that he is having some success at this in the Western part of the island.

By almost everyone’s reckoning, the NPP candidacy has narrowed to a two-person race. It is presently inconceivable that anyone other than Rossello and Pesquera could gain the ultimate support of the NPP leadership and the confidence of the voters to successfully oppose the incumbent governor. Both are saying that they are willing to put the choice before the voters in a primary election, potentially to be held in November. This has NPP leaders worried, some remembering the feud within the party in the 1980s between a popular NPP Mayor of San Juan, Hernan Padilla, and the then incumbent NPP Governor, Carlos Romero Barcelo, as to who should represent the party in the general election. Their split allowed former PDP governor Rafael Hernandez Colon to return to office after an 8-year lay-off.

The question is, "For the good of the party, should one or the other of these candidates step aside, thereby avoiding an expensive and potentially divisive primary campaign?" Some suggest that the candidates should gauge their relative support within the Puerto Rican body politic by applying the "windsock" method of determining political ascendancy. After checking the strength and direction of the political airstreams, the perceived winner would move to the runway to take off and the looser would return to the hangar. Right now, both want to pilot the NPP fighter jet.

What do you think?

Should Rossello And Pesquera Avoid An NPP Party Primary Election?

This Week's Question:
Should Rossello And Pesquera Avoid An NPP Party Primary Election?

US . Residents
. PR
The Primary should be held 34%
16% Rossello should step back 21%
33% Pesquera should step back 45%


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