Puerto Rican Voters Increase Drastically in Florida
There are now an estimated 40,000 newly registered Puerto Rican voters in Central Florida this year alone, according to Hispanic outreach groups. And even before the historic Hurricane Maria drove an estimated tens of thousands of Puerto Ricans to settle in Florida, about 1.2 million Puerto Ricans already lived in the state. Now Florida’s Puerto Rican population rivals that of New York -- the main destination of the mid-20th century’s migration from the island. The number of Hispanic registered voters in Florida has increased by 6.2% since the 2016 presidential election, to a record 2.1 million people, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of Florida state government data. Hispanics now make up a record 16.4% of Florida’s registered voters, up from 15.7% in 2016. This growing population in the battleground state will definitely impact Florida's hotly contested gubernatorial race between Democratic Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum and his Republican opponent Ron Desantis. The number of Hispanics registered as Democrats has increased by 5%, approximately twice the 2% growth rate for Hispanics registered as Republicans. RealClearPolitics has ranked the race a "toss-up" with an average of polling giving Gillum a slight edge. Florida has not elected a Democratic Governor since 1994. A poll released last week showed Gillum is leading among independent voters, and among Hispanic voters by 63 to 24%. One reason the former Congressman is trailing Gillum is healthcare. It’s a pivotal issue in a state where people of color, Latino people, in particular, account for the bulk of the state’s uninsured residents. The two were set to square off in their first debate on Tuesday, but Gillum announced Saturday that he would miss the first of three scheduled debates as he directs hurricane cleanup efforts in Tallahassee. Another debate is scheduled for October 21st on CNN, and a third is scheduled at Broward College on October 24th. More here.