Florida, long known for the political influence of Cuban immigrants, is now seeing another Hispanic group rising in prominence and numbers in the state, The Washington Post
There are now about 900,000 Puerto Ricans living in Florida and because they come from a commonwealth of the United States, they have full citizenship rights, including voting in the state. While numerically they still lag behind Cuban Americans, there are about 1.2 million Cuban Americans in Florida and they are proving to be swing voters.
Puerto Ricans helped elect Republican Jeb Bush and also President Barack Obama, The Washington Post noted.
“They are the group that could put him over the top — and were the group that put him over the top that last time around,” Darren Soto, a member of the Florida House, told the Post. “He’s got to send chills running up and down people’s backs, and speak to the hearts and minds of the Hispanic community to make sure that they pull that lever for him.”
About half of Puerto Ricans in Central Florida are retirees and longtime Democrats while the other half, recent arrivals from the island, are less predictable.
Republican strategist Javier Ortiz said GOP challenger Mitt Romney will take the Puerto Rican vote. “The folks who live in Central Florida that are from Puerto Rico are looking for hope, real hope, opportunity, jobs, the education of their children, betterment of themselves — and they don’t believe in anything but hard work,” he told the Post.
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