Puerto Rico’s opposition to hold gubernatorial primary as race heats up

One of Puerto Rico’s biggest political parties will hold a gubernatorial primary after Rep. Jesús Manuel Ortiz of the Popular Democratic Party announced his candidacy Monday.

Ortiz will face Puerto Rico Sen. Juan Zaragoza, who previously served as the U.S. territory’s treasury secretary.

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Ortiz, who is president of the Popular Democratic Party, listed conditions in Puerto Rico that he said were negatively affecting the island’s 3.2 million inhabitants.

“Recovery funds that are not used effectively, anguish from waiting months for a doctor’s appointment, the daily battle with a crumbling electrical system, lack of employment opportunities, the deterioration of essential services and so many other problems,” he said.

The winner of the Popular Democratic Party’s primary will face the winner of the New Progressive Party’s primary, in which Gov. Pedro Pierluisi faces Jenniffer González, the island’s representative in Congress. They also will face gubernatorial candidates from other, newer parties.

The Popular Democratic Party supports the island’s current political status, while the New Progressive Party supports statehood.

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