Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, a presumed GOP candidate for the presidency in 2016, will be courting Hispanics — a key voting bloc — this week during trips to Puerto Rico and Texas, NBC News
Tuesday’s jaunt to the island of Puerto Rico includes an event at the Universidad Metropolitana de Cupey, a town hall with the Republican Party of Puerto Rico and a fundraiser at the home of Zoraida Fonalledas, the national committeewoman for the Puerto Rico Republican Party. She is married to one of Puerto Rico’s wealthiest businessmen, according to the network.
Bush's outreach to tiny Puerto Rico may have more far-reaching implications for his presumed candidacy, specifically in his home state and its famous I-4 corridor in Central Florida, which has long been known as a swing area for voters.
"The Puerto Rican vote in Central Florida, I would argue, is the decisive vote in Florida," Alfonso Aguilar, executive director of the conservative American Principles Project's Latino Partnership, told NBC.
"There are 900,000 Puerto Ricans concentrated in Central Florida. They are deciding elections. Obama won it by 1 point. Over 80 percent voted with Obama," he said.
"Republicans need to penetrate there. Polling shows they are independent voters."
After Puerto Rico, Bush heads to Houston, where he is the keynote speaker at the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, an event with an expected attendance of some 1,000 Hispanic evangelicals, a figure which includes delegates from South America, Central America and Spain.
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is also scheduled to speak at the conference, whose theme is "From Survive to Thrive," according to The Christian Post
The Sunshine State's former two-term governor fared well with Hispanic voters in both of his elections. He speaks fluent Spanish and has been married for more than 30 years to his Mexican-born wife, Columba.
A Republican pollster working for Florida Sen. Marco Rubio's presidential campaign told the National Journal
last month that in order to capture the White House, the GOP candidate must get about 30 percent of the nonwhite vote, and more than 40 percent of the Hispanic vote.
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