Puerto Rico residents are heading to the polling stations on Sunday to vote in the U.S. Republican primary, in San Juan, Puerto Rico. While Puerto Rico is able to participate in the primary process for both the Democratic party and the Republican party, Puerto Rico does not have delegates in November's general election. Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio recently visited Puerto Rico this weekend, which could help his chances in this election.
"Since they can't vote in general, they tend to be excited about the opportunity to make an impact now, so turnout will likely be high and may be an opportunity for winners to demonstrate their appeal to Hispanics," said Justin Velez-Hagan, founder and executive director of the National Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce.Puerto Rico has 20 delegates that are available, they will be proportionally divided for the Republican candidates who win at least 20 percent of the votes on Sunday. Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, John Kasich and Donald Trump are the candidates left in the Republican presidential race and Puerto Rico will be able to make a difference in who comes out on top in this primary.
Marco Rubio has already earned the vote of three super delegates in Puerto Rico, which could indicate that the Cuban-American presidential candidate will walk away with the victory. Senator Rubio winning over Puerto Rico could boost his popularity in the state of Florida. Rubio was in San Juan on Saturday preparing for the Puerto Rico primary today, where he talked about his upsetting results following Super Saturday were in Kansas, Maine, Kentucky and Louisiana.
"These are important states. We were in Kansas yesterday. These states have a certain profile that other candidates do better in. We recognize that. But it's proportional. What you need to understand is all of these states are awarding these delegates by proportion. So tonight, we will have more delegates than we did last night. We continue to pick up delegates and we will continue to do so, and this map only gets better as we move forward in some of the other states."Rubio did not receive any delegates in Louisiana and Maine on Super Saturday, since he was not able to meet the minimum percentage threshold in the contests. But Marco is confident that he will win over Florida and see another victory on March 15. Puerto Rican voters can participate in the general election as long as they are residents of the mainland. But within the last several years, Puerto Ricans have been leaving the island, due to ongoing economic problems, and many of them have ended up in Florida. Out of 11,500 Puerto Rican prisoners, at least 6,500 are registered to vote.
"This is a democracy, and everyone should be able to exercise their right to vote," said 46-year-old first-time voter Edgardo Rodriguez to the Associated Press.While support for Marco Rubio seems to be high, there were indeed some Puerto Rican voters backing candidates like Donald Trump or Ted Cruz. Some believe the real estate mogul has the right business-tactics to help with the economy in Puerto Rico. The island's unemployment rate is more than 12 percent, and are in $70 billion in debt.
The polls in Puerto Rico are going to be open on Sunday from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Eastern time. Marco Rubio is expected to win, with Donald Trump coming in second place and Ted Cruz coming in third.
After Puerto Rico, what comes next? The Republican presidential candidates will be focusing their attention on the March 8 elections this Tuesday. Mississippi, Idaho and Michigan will all have primaries, with the Hawaii caucus taking place on Tuesday, March 8.
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