Governor: Puerto Rico would be a ‘swing state’
The Governor of Puerto Rico is starting the campaign for the June status plebiscite early, defining Puerto Rico as a potential swign state, likely attempting to stem concerns of Republicans in Congress that should statehood win, the US territory would become a Democrat stronghold.
Rosselló, speaking at POLITICO’s annual State Solutions Conference, said Puerto Rico is socially conservative, and congressional Republicans concerned about giving the Democrats another state are misled.
“If you look at Puerto Rico’s electoral behavior, we’re really a swing state,” he said. “When we don’t like something, we flip.”
Rosselló said Republican presidents George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan both supported Puerto Rican statehood.
He added when Hawaii and Alaska were added as states, Hawaii was expected to be solidly Republican and Alaska solidly Democratic, saying the politics of a territory should not get in the way of statehood.
“In my view, really, Puerto Rico is up for grabs,” he said.
Puerto Rico will have its fifth status referendum on June 11, 2017, but congressional approval is necessary for it to become the 51st state.
Do note this article from Politico is incorrect in stating that “Puerto Rico’s government at the time decided not to act on those results, instead opting to hold another referendum” after the 2012 plebiscite. Instead, the outgoing administration of Luis Fortuño and the New Progressive Party, after losing the 2012 election on the same day of the plebiscite, did not have time to act on them. The then incoming Popular Democratic Party administration actively avoided the status issue, and never acted beyond disputing the 2012 plebiscite result.