Pierluisi Inches Towards Governorship

Pedro Pierluisi (New Progressive Party/NPP) will be sworn in today as Puerto Rico’s Secretary of State — but whether he will have the job and become Governor Friday afternoon is uncertain, although it appears to be increasingly likely.

Governor Ricardo Rossello Nevares (NPP) this afternoon appointed Pierluisi to serve while the Legislative Assembly is in recess. He also called the legislature back into session tomorrow morning to consider his nomination of Pierluisi to be confirmed as Secretary of State. If confirmed, Pierluisi would become Governor when Rossello resigns Friday at 5 PM.

Whether Pierluisi will be confirmed is uncertain. He is opposed by some NPP leaders who think a Pierluisi Administration would be perceived as an administration of the political party of the very unpopular PROMESA Financial Oversight and Management Board, which has been among Pierluisi’s law clients. Also, Pierluisi’s brother-in-law is Chairman of the Board.

Senate and Party President Thomas Rivera Schatz (NPP) additionally sees a Governor Pierluisi as a threat to his aspiration to be the party’s gubernatorial candidate next year — and preventing him from attaining the governorship now.

Pierluisi will, presumably, be opposed by the one-third of each house of the Legislative Assembly that is not NPP. According to NPP legislators, there were not enough votes yesterday in either house to confirm Pierluisi. Today, however, a couple of NPP legislators said that they would now support him.

Pierluisi (D) was Puerto Rico’s Resident Commissioner in the U.S. House from 2009 until 2017. Minority Whip Hoyer endorsed his nomination today.

Rossello narrowly defeated Pierluisi for the NPP’s gubernatorial nomination in a 2016 primary. Pierluisi’s support of PROMESA was an issue. Rossello was also seen as a more aggressive advocate of statehood.

During the 1990s, Pierluisi served as Secretary of Justice.


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