By NAN Contributor
News Americas, SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico, Mon. Mar. 7, 2016: Florida Sen. Marco Rubio on Sunday increased his delegate count in the Republican Presidential Primary by winning Puerto Rico and all 23 delegates; a win that could be in part due to the votes of prisoners as well.
“Thank you, Puerto Rico! ¡Gracias, Puerto Rico!,” Rubio Tweeted after the election was called for him by CNN and other major news organizations.
What was missing from the report is that of the 27,485 of votes the Cuban-roots senator received, many could be part of the 6,000 from inmates who are allowed to vote in Puerto Rico early and voted on Friday, March 4th.
Prisoners like all Puerto Rico residents are allowed to vote in US Primary elections but cannot vote in US general presidential elections. Puerto Rico has allowed inmates to vote since the 1980s.
Many refused to tell the AP who they would vote for last Friday but clearly some stated they would not vote for Donald Trump because “he does not like Latinos.”
But they like many felt the dominant issue facing the island commonwealth is a public debt crisis, with the government owing $73 billion.
Rubio for his part has insisted the island shouldn’t be permitted to file for bankruptcy as it struggles with more than $72 billion in debts.
Asked about his stance at the Republican debate on Thursday night, Mar. 3rd, Rubio said bankruptcy wouldn’t fix the underlying issues driving Puerto Rico’s debt problems, and that “it’s too expensive to do business there, the tax rate is too high, the government regulations are too extensive.”
He said that was the primary reason for the flight of working professionals moving from the island to places like Florida, New York, and elsewhere on the mainland. Any bankruptcy protection for Puerto Rico must come later, he said, after bigger budget cuts—”but not as the first resort…because it will not solve the problems on the island.”
Donald Trump got only 5,052 votes while Ted Cruz received 2,340.
Only Rubio had campaigned on the island, flying there on Saturday ahead of the election to push his message. Rubio has so far won only two primaries – Puerto Rico and
He has 151 delegates to date compared to Cruz’ 300 and Trump’s 384.
1,237 delegates are needed for the nomination.