WASHINGTON, March 6, 2016 – Florida Sen. Marco Rubio has won the Puerto Rico primary. Rubio took an early lead with 74 percent of the vote with only 30 percent of the precincts reporting. The results were not surprising, as Rubio was the only candidate who spent time campaigning in Puerto Rico, and he was expected to do well because of his Hispanic heritage.
Rubio’s Puerto Rico victory comes a day after four states held their nominating contests. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Donald Trump each won two states on Saturday, bringing the delegate totals to 392 for Trump, 305 for Cruz, 130 for Rubio and 35 for Ohio Gov. John Kasich.
Residents of Puerto Rico, a U.S. protectorate, cannot vote in the general election but can vote in their party’s primary.
Rubio’s campaign now largely hinges on taking first place in the Florida primary on March 15. That is a winner-take-all primary, with 99 delegates at stake.
After 19 contests, Trump has won 12 states and Cruz has won six.
The high number of Puerto Rican residents in Florida could help Rubio win his home state, particularly with the previous primary win in P.R.
Experts estimate that 500 to 1,000 Puerto Rican families a week are moving from the island to Florida, mainly the I-4 corridor near Orlando. If Rubio can translate the support from Puerto Rico to Florida, he has a chance to at least prevent Trump and Cruz from running away with the race.