Residents of Puerto Rico cannot vote in presidential elections, but they will vote in the Republican primary election on March 6th. With the number of candidates still in the race for this election cycle, the primary votes from Puerto Rico make a difference in the selection of the party candidates.
On the Republican side, Marco Rubio has gained a great advantage with endorsements from key leaders on the Island:
- Luis Fortuño, governor of Puerto Rico from 2009-2012, RNC national committeeman, and Resident Commissioner from 2005-2009
- Jenniffer Gonzalez, Minority Leader of the Puerto Rico House of Representatives, RNC chairperson and former Speaker of the House
- Zoraida Fonalledas, RNC national committeewoman
- Jose Carrion, Republican fundraiser
Puerto Rico sends 23 delegates to the Republican National Convention, and uses a “winner takes most” formula, in which delegates have to gain 50 percent of the vote in order to get all the delegates. This hasn’t happened yet for any Republican candidates, but the field is narrowing and it could, as Rubio has said, become a 3-person race by March 6th.
Florida’s primary will take place on March 15th, and it’s winner take all — all 99 delegates will go to the winner of the primary. Puerto Rican voters are very important in Florida, and surveys show that Florida’s voters keep up with the news in Puerto Rico. This means that these endorsements could work for Rubio in the Florida primary as well as the Puerto Rico primary.