Election 2020

Congressman: Puerto Rican Voters Will Deliver Florida to Clinton

Former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, left, walks with Jaime Perello, speaker of Puerto Rico'’s House of Representatives, during a campaign stop in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Aug. 1, 2015. He was the first Democratic candidate to campaign in Puerto Rico. (AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo)

Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) predicted that Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton will win the state of Florida with the help of substantial support from Puerto Rican voters in the state.

“Donald Trump is going to lose Florida. He is going to lose the electoral college because of it and Hillary Clinton is going to be our next president. Furthermore, Latino voters will be a big part of Clinton’s victory nationally — just as it was for Barack Obama in 2012,” Gutierrez said on a conference call hosted by the Center for American Progress Action Fund.

“Puerto Ricans, in particular, will be a big part of her victory in Florida. The poll confirms and re-enforces that. If you are looking at national politics and not paying attention to what’s going on among Puerto Ricans in Florida you are missing one of the most important stories in this presidential campaign,” he added.

The poll to which Gutierrez referred was conducted by Latino Decision from Sept. 17 through Sept. 26.

Most of the Puerto Rican voters in Florida who were surveyed cited the economy and jobs as the most important issues in the election followed by education and immigration/deportations. According to the poll’s findings, Puerto Rican voters in Florida prefer Clinton to Trump 74 percent to 17 percent.

According to the latest Real Clear Politics polling average, Clinton is up by 3.2 percent in Florida.

Gutierrez noted that Puerto Ricans have been moving to Florida for a long period of time. Since Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens, they can vote if they have established residency in a state such as Florida. Puerto Ricans living inside Puerto Rico cannot vote since Puerto Rico is not a state.

“It’s accelerated to an unbelievable rate in recent years. In 2012, 84,000 Puerto Ricans left the island and it has probably increased. There are estimates that today 6,000 people leave the island of Puerto Rico each and every day,” Gutierrez said.

“The slower the economy is in Puerto Rico, the lack of jobs, cutbacks in government services brought on by the debt crisis, more of those people will leave the island and it is only going to get worse,” he added.

Grammy Award-winning musician Marc Anthony, whose company Magnus Media is based in Miami, recently performed in Fairfax, Va., just outside of Washington, D.C., and discussed the upcoming election during the show. Anthony, who was born to parents from Puerto Rico, criticized Trump and predicted that politicians will realize the power of the Latino vote after the 2016 election is over.

“We have very few days left — we have a couple of weeks left. Please don’t fall for Trump’s bulls***. He’s a con artist, a bigot, a racist. Latinos — they will see who we are and the power that we have if we go out and vote. I’m not going to say the other four-letter word. I am going to say vote because once they see in this election the power that we have they will never, ever f*** with us again,” he said to applause from the crowd. “Go out and vote. Sorry, but I am passionate about this.”

Trump has pledged to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border to prevent illegal crossings into the U.S. and to combat drug trafficking. Clinton opposes the plan to build a wall and has pledged to work with Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform that includes a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants in her first 100 days as president.