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Jeb Bush Heads To Puerto Rico To Court Republican Donors

jeb bush
He hasn’t launched a presidential campaign yet, but former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, whose state has a growing middle-class Puerto Rican community, is scheduled to arrive in Puerto Rico on Tuesday to fund-raise and hold a town hall meeting.
Bush is also expected to meet with local Republican leaders on the island and visit the college Universidad Metropolitana. The fundraiser will be held at the home of Republican delegate Zoraida Fonalledas.
Though Cuban-Americans in the Sunshine State once tilted the Latino vote there toward Republicans, over the years the Latino community has grown in diversity and political leanings, with younger Cuban-Americans, Puerto Ricans and South and Central Americans throwing their support to Democrats.
But the vote is still, to a large extent, up for grabs, and a political candidate who wins the Latino support can gain a huge advantage in winning the state – a crucial move in a presidential campaign.
Alfonso Aguilar, a Republican political analyst, characterized Bush as smart for putting Puerto Rico on his calendar.
“He’s engaging the Hispanic audience early on,” Aguilar said of Bush. “Puerto Ricans are going to help decide Florida” in the presidential election.
“He’s going there before any other presidential candidate,” Aguilar said. “He’s supporting statehood, and a majority of Puerto Rican voters support statehood. Jeb Bush and his staff are thinking ahead of other Republicans and even Hillary Clinton.”
On Sunday, Bush said that the “Latino vote can make a difference” in the election in key states including Florida, Colorado and New Mexico.
Responding to a question from Efe, an international news service headquartered in Spain, he said his campaign would be positive and would emphasize conservative values — a strategy that he feels will appeal to Latinos.
Puerto Ricans are about 1 million strong in Florida, narrowly behind Cubans, who number 1.3 million. Puerto Ricans are 28 percent of Latino registered voters in the state, Cubans are 32 percent.
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