Pedro Pierluisi wins gubernatorial race in Puerto Rico

Pedro Pierluisi of Puerto Rico’s pro-statehood New Progressive Party has won a majority of votes to become the U.S. territory’s next governor

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- Pedro Pierluisi of Puerto Rico’s pro-statehood New Progressive Party won a majority of votes to become the U.S. territory’s next governor, according to official preliminary results released late Saturday.

Pierluisi received nearly 33% of votes compared with nearly 32% obtained by Carlos Delgado of the Popular Democratic Party, which supports the current territorial status, with 100% of precincts reporting.

“These are times to unite wills and purposes,” Pierluisi said in a statement.

On Saturday, he congratulated Pierluisi: “The island needs consensus, dialogue and convergence so that we can face the great challenges of the future.”

Voters in Puerto Rico participated in a non-binding referendum the day of the local general election that asked, “Should Puerto Rico be admitted immediately into the union as a state?” More than 52% of voters approved, but any changes to the island’s political status needs approval from U.S. Congress. It is the island's sixth such referendum.

Biden has promised to work with local government officials who support a variety of political status for Puerto Rico to “initiate a just and binding process” for the island to determine its own status.

Other results released late Saturday included those of a tight race for the mayor of Puerto Rico's capital. New Progressive Miguel Romero received more than 36% of votes, compared with more than 34% obtained by third-party candidate Manuel Natal of the Citizen Victory Movement. Natal rejected the results and said not all votes have been counted.