The elections occurred after one term of what was called "shared government", as a result of the 2004 elections. Because of this, the island had a Governor from one party (Acevedo Vilá), while the opposing party held a majority in the Senate and the House of Representatives. The struggles faced by the opposing parties attempts at cooperation, mixed with the global economic crisis, paved the campaign for this elections. Also, Acevedo Vilá was facing criminal accusations at the time.
Before the election year, the Constitution of Puerto Rico provides for any qualified person to present their candidacy for a specific position. If two or more candidates from the same party present their candidacy for the same position, and they can't reach an agreement within the party, a primary election is held. This election is held within the inscribed members of each party, to select which of the candidates will represent the party in the general election.
The primaries were held on March 9, 2008 to determine several candidates for the Senate, House of Representatives, and others. Among the most notable outcomes, former Secretary of Consumer Affairs Alejandro García Padilla received the most votes for the Senate, despite being his first time in an election.