Elections in Puerto Rico:
Summary of November 3, 1992 General Election Results

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The General Election held on November 3, 1992 produced a decisive victory for the New Progressive Party (PNP) over the ruling Popular Democratic Party (PPD), which, after eight years in power, suffered its worst defeat ever. The leader of the PNP, Dr. Pedro Rosselló, was elected Governor of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico with 938,969 votes (49.9% of the votes cast for Governor), while Senator Victoria Muñoz-Mendoza, the PDP gubernatorial candidate (and the first woman ever to be nominated for the office), obtained 862,989 votes (45.9%); Senator Fernando Martín, who ran for Governor on the Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP) ticket, received 79,219 votes (4.2%). Dr. Rosselló won the race by a margin of 75,980 votes, for a 4.0% lead out of a total of 1,881,872 votes cast for the office of Governor of Puerto Rico. Both in relative and absolute terms, the vote for Dr. Rosselló was the highest ever scored by the PNP, his margin of victory being the largest ever achieved by his party.

A total of 1,544,209 straight-ticket ballots were cast, out of which the PPD won 676,010 (43.8%), the PNP 816,758 (52.9%) and the PIP 51,441 (3.3%). Of the 275,008 split-ticket votes cast, the PPD won 153,047, against 98,236 for the PNP and 23,725 for the PIP. The votes cast under party symbols, or party-ticket votes, that is, the sum of straight- and split-ticket votes, reached a total of 1,819,217, of which the PPD received 829,057 (45.6%), the PNP 914,994 (50.3%) and the PIP 75,166 (4.1%); 70,489 electors voted for specific candidates rather than for parties. Additionally, 4,673 null votes and 7,526 blank ballots were tallied. Out of 2,235,625 registered voters, 1,910,561 voted in the election, for a turnout rate of 85.5%.

In terms of the straight-ticket canvass, the PNP won all of the Island's eight Senate districts, while the distribution of party-ticket votes produced PNP majorities in seven of the eight districts, as the Guayama Senate District returned a PPD majority of 58, out of a total of 245,189 votes under party symbols cast in this constituency.

The PNP also won in the race for the position of Resident Commissioner in the U.S. Congress; its candidate, former Governor Carlos Romero-Barceló, defeated the incumbent Commissioner, Antonio J. (Tito) Colorado by a narrow margin, as Colorado lost the seat by 12,891 votes, out of 1,860,263 valid votes cast for the office, which resulted in a margin of difference of 0.7% between the two candidates.

The PNP scored a huge victory in the legislative races. Six of the eight Senate districts (San Juan, Bayamón, Arecibo, Ponce, Humacao and Carolina) elected two PNP Senators each; in the Mayagüez Senate District, the PPD won the first Senate seat and the PNP the second, whereas in the Guayama Senate District, the first Senate seat was awarded to the PNP and the second to the PPD. It should be pointed out that the division of Senate seats between opposing slates, which took place in the Mayagüez and Guayama Senate districts, is unprecedented in Puerto Rico's electoral history. In all, out of 3,683,446 valid votes cast for the Senate district slates, the PPD, with 1,675,154 votes (45.5%), won two seats, whereas the PNP, with 1,844,420 votes (50.1%), received 14 seats. Meanwhile, the PIP received 162,213 votes (4.4%) and the remaining 1,659 votes were scattered among other candidates.

The distribution of the eleven at-large Senate seats was also favorable to the PNP, as its entire six-candidate slate was elected; the PPD elected four of its six candidates, and Rubén Berríos, the sole candidate of the PIP, was elected in first place. The PPD at-large Senate slate won 717,041 votes (38.8%), whereas the PNP candidates won 848,576 votes (46.0%), and the PIP's Rubén Berríos received 209,009 votes (11.3%). Neftalí García, who ran as an independent candidate for Senator at-large, received 70,189 votes (3.8%).

In the House of Representatives, the PNP won in 30 House districts, as opposed to ten won by the PPD. The distribution of the eleven House at-lage seats was identical to that of the Senate, with all six PNP candidates being elected, as well as four of the six PPD candidates, and David Noriega, the PIP's sole candidate, who was elected in first place with the largest number of votes ever won by at-large legislative candidate. In all, out of 1,844,127 valid votes cast in the House district races, the PPD obtained 837,351 votes (45.4%), the PNP 921,753 (50.0%), and the PIP 83,810 (4.5%); 1,213 votes were scattered among other candidates. By comparison, the PPD House at-large candidates obtained an overall total of 728,919 votes (39.3%), the PNP's 860,843 (46.4%) and David Noriega accumulated 262,235 votes (14.1%) as the PIP's single candidate.

In this way, the PNP won 20 seats in the Senate, against six for the PPD and one for the PIP, whereas in the House of Representatives, the PNP obtained 36 seats, the PPD 14 and the PIP one. Since the majority party, the PNP, won more than two-thirds of the seats in the Senate as well as in the House, Article III, Section 7 of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico Constitution - which prescribes that in the event the majority party receives less than two-thirds of the vote for Governor, the number of Senators and Representatives shall be increased until the minority parties reach a total of nine Senators and 17 Representatives - was invoked. The seats assigned to the minorities are then distributed in proportion to the number of votes obtained by the gubernatorial candidate of each minority party, relative to the total number of votes cast for the gubernatorial candidates of the minority parties.

In the Senate, the proportional allocation of the minority seats gave the PPD eight and the PIP one, whereas in the House, the PPD was entitled to 16 seats and the PIP to one. Since the PPD had already elected six Senators and 14 Representatives, it was awarded two additional seats in both the Senate and the House. Pursuant to the constitutional arrangements, the two additional PPD seats in the Senate went to its two defeated candidates for Senator at-large, with the same procedure being followed with the two additional House seats allocated to the party in the House of Representatives.

This was the first time the PPD had to take advantage of the so-called Ley de Minorías (Minorities Law), a constitutional scheme designed to guarantee minority representation in the legislative chambers against the hegemonic political dominance that party used to have years ago.

Finally, the PNP scored a huge victory in the municipal races, as it won the mayoralties of 54 municipalities, against 24 won by the PPD. However, it should be pointed out that, with the exception of Bayamón, the PPD retained control of all the municipalities with more than one hundred thousand inhabitants.