Who won the 2016 Puerto Rico primary?
Coming just before the final burst of contests to determine the Democratic nomination, Puerto Rico offers Hillary Clinton the chance to climb ever closer to the edge of nomination. Bernie Sanders has been looking to Tuesday’s California primary as his chance to notch a big win and a strong finish to make the case that he is the strongest candidate to represent the party in November, but it may not even get that far.
Sunday’s Puerto Rico primary has a chance to render his argument moot and the primary essentially meaningless. While there is no polling from the island, Hillary Clinton is expected to cruise to victory just as she did over Barack Obama in 2008. The question of who won the Puerto Rico primary likely won’t be much of a mystery — instead, it will be a matter of how much Clinton wins by.
There are 60 pledged delegates up for grabs in the 2016 Puerto Rico primary, with polls closing at 3 p.m. ET and results expected in the late afternoon. A big win could put Hillary Clinton in position to be declared the presumptive nominee after polls close in New Jersey on Tuesday, ending the race more than two hours before voters finish casting their ballots in California.
As Politico noted, all the elements are there for a big Clinton win in Puerto Rico.
“She has a very good grasp of policy issues in Puerto Rico and has for a very long time, particularly when she was a senator from New York,” said Roberto Prats, the chairman of the Puerto Rico Democratic Party and a Clinton supporter. “We have a sizable population of Puerto Ricans in New York and New York state and she was very active in the community as well.”
Prays added that Bernie Sanders hasn’t done much to get to know the voters in Puerto Rico, while “the Clintons have had a very longstanding relationship with the people of Puerto Rico.”
But others believe that Bernie Sanders could do well selling his message of addressing income inequality in a territory facing a massive debt crisis.
“I think Bernie’s message about a rigged economy resonates strongly in Puerto Rico as anywhere else,” Sanders pollster Ben Tulchin said. “From what I understand, voters there are frustrated with the establishment and I feel like Bernie and his message critiquing money in politics and corrupt political systems can resonate really well in Puerto Rico.”
Even before voters found out who won the 2016 Puerto Rico primary, there was already plenty of drama regarding the voting itself. Sanders spokeswoman Betsy Franceschini accused Puerto Rico party officials of withholding certifications from Sanders officials that prevented organizing voters in prisons, the Hill reported.
But local Democratic Party president Roberto Prats called the claim “proposterous,” saying the Sanders campaign had all of its pollworkers certified and that the Sanders campaign wasted no time before calling it fraud.
“Inmate voting is handled not by the Democratic Party but by the Commonwealth’s Absentee and Advance Vote Administrative Board,” Prats said. “I have been told that the Sanders campaign submitted their prison pollworker list at 6:10 pm on the evening prior to inmate voting and began complaining early in the following morning that the Board had not completed their pollworker’s certification. But in the end, despite the late submittal, the Sanders campaign had representatives at the prison voting places.”
If Saturday’s contest is any indication, Hillary Clinton will win big in Puerto Rico. The U.S. Virgin Islands caucus gave her a big win, with more than 80 percent of the vote. When the final allotment is tallied, she is likely to pick up six of the possible seven pledged delegates.
Those who want to find out who won the 2016 Puerto Rico primary can find the full results here.
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