Marco Rubio wins GOP primary in Puerto Rico

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida won Puerto Rico's Republican presidential primary election Sunday, with supporters saying he would help lift the island out of its long economic slump.

See Full Article

Early returns showed Rubio with 19,224 votes, followed by Donald Trump at 3,533 and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas at 2,233 with a little more than half the island's voting centres reporting.

"The numbers are overwhelming," said local Rep. Jenniffer Gonzalez, chairwoman of Puerto Rico's Republican Party. "This primary in Puerto Rico ... will demonstrate that the Hispanic vote is important."

With Rubio holding 72 per cent of the early vote, he seemed likely to finish with more than half and get all 20 delegates determined by the primary. If no one finished with more than 50 per cent, the 20 delegates would be divided proportionately among candidates who received at least 20 per cent. The territory's three super-delegates have committed to Rubio.

Residents of the U.S. island, which is struggling through a decade-long economic stagnation, cannot vote in the general election in November but can take part in the party primaries.

Orlando Gomez, a retiree whose two sons recently moved to the U.S. to seek jobs, said he participated in the primary because of concerns over the island's economy. He voted for Rubio.

"He understands Latinos because he is Latino," Gomez said. "And he can bring us closer to statehood."

Party officials estimated more than 30,000 people cast ballots Sunday. Officials said votes cast Friday by some 6,000 inmates would not be available until Wednesday.

Puerto Rico is one of the few U.S. jurisdictions that allow inmates to vote. The only other people allowed to submit absentee ballots in the territory were military members, but party officials said they did not yet know how many of those had been cast.

Any registered voter could take part, but only if they signed a document of affiliation with the Republican Party moments before casting a ballot.

Voters said in interviews that they want a U.S. president who will help Puerto Rico emerge from a decade of recession and a debt crisis that threatens basic government services.

"We need a radical change," Richard Suarez said as he waited to cast a ballot for Rubio in Guaynabo, a city in the San Juan metropolitan area. "Otherwise, we'll be stuck in the same situation and will have to keep asking the U.S. government for favours."

The island's economic woes affected the election itself. Edwin Mundo, electoral commissioner for Puerto Rico's Republican Party, said budget cuts forced it to reduce the number of polling places to 110 from more than 3,000 in 2012, dramatically reducing turnout.

No candidate has had a major presence in Puerto Rico this campaign, though Rubio visited the island Saturday for the second time in seven months. There have been no publicly released polls.

Jose Fuentes Agostini, Rubio's campaign president in Puerto Rico, said the senator's visits made a difference.

"This is a great victory," he said. "It is here in Puerto Rico that we're going to change the course of this presidential election for the entire nation."

Sonia Quintero, a retiree, praised Rubio for his visits and said she voted for him.

"He knows where we are and who we are and that's why he can help us," she said.

Politics in Puerto Rico generally revolves around the island's relationship to the U.S. One major party favours statehood and the other wants to maintain the current semi-autonomous commonwealth status. A small minority favours independence. The pro-statehood party has traditionally attracted Republicans and anyone taking part in the primary had to sign a pledge to support the effort to become the 51st state.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Hip-replacement technique gets patients back on their feet sooner

    Canada News CBC News
    Tim Heenan was in his teens when he injured his left hip in a four-metre fall while goofing around with some buddies. When his school hockey coach saw him favouring his leg before practice soon after, he said: "Just wait until you're older. Source
  • The controversial rise of the eastern Metis: 'Where were these people all this time?'

    Canada News CTV News
    HALIFAX -- It was 1948 when her father told her. He was laying on the chesterfield in the living room of their Yarmouth, N.S., home, his body ravaged by tuberculosis. "He had consumption and he knew he only had a few months to live," recalls Mary Lou Parker. Source
  • Service dog gives birth to 8 puppies at Florida airport

    World News CTV News
    TAMPA, Fla. — A service dog waiting for a flight to Philadelphia with her owner gave birth at the Tampa airport as travelers gathered around and watched. The Tampa Bay Times reports 2-year-old golden retriever Eleanor Rigby went into labor at Gate F-81 and birthed eight puppies — seven males and a female. Source
  • Colombia presidential vote seen as test for peace accord

    World News CBC News
    For decades, Colombians voted with an eye on the bloody conflict with leftist rebels that dominated their country and politics. But on Sunday they were casting their ballots in the first presidential election since the signing of a peace accord with the nation's biggest rebel group to end the conflict and were weighing issues like corruption, inequality, crime and relations with their crisis-plagued neighbour Venezuela. Source
  • Manitoba civil servants can drink at parties, but pot will be a no-no, says draft policy

    Canada News CBC News
    Manitoba civil servants will be able swig a beer at office parties, but smoking a joint will still be a no-no after recreational cannabis is legalized, says a draft policy obtained by The Canadian Press. It's an issue that many employers, both public and private, will have to deal with once marijuana becomes legal this year. Source
  • Air quality expected to slide in southwestern Ontario as temperatures climb

    Canada News CBC News
    Southwestern Ontario will see temperatures rise on Sunday afternoon, and with the heat will come the possibility of high levels of air pollution, Environment Canada warns. A special air quality statement is in effect for the region "due to the possibility of deteriorating air quality," a statement from the government agency reads. Source
  • The winners (by a nose) in top U.S. sniffer dogs competition

    World News CTV News
    GALLOWAY, N.J. -- One of America's best law enforcement officers at sniffing out hidden explosives is eight years old, already going grey and loves nothing more than chewing vigorously on a white cotton towel to unwind. Source
  • Official: Syrian militants dug up graves to find Israelis

    World News CTV News
    DAMASCUS, Syria - A Syria-based Palestinian official says insurgents have excavated graves in a cemetery in a refugee camp in the capital Damascus in search of the remains of three Israeli soldiers who have been missing for decades. Source
  • Where are all the 'bergs? Tour operators say iceberg sightings in N.L. down this year so far

    Canada News CBC News
    Newfoundland and Labrador — a province lauded for its shimmering coastlines, plentiful wildlife and rugged scenery — is falling short so far this year when it comes to one of its most prized tourist attractions: icebergs. Source
  • N.L. tour operators optimistic despite bleak start to iceberg season

    Canada News CTV News
    ST. JOHN'S, N.L. -- Newfoundland and Labrador -- a province lauded for its shimmering coastlines, plentiful wildlife and rugged scenery -- is falling short so far this year on one of its most prized tourist attractions: icebergs. Source