SAN JUAN – Republican Sen. Marco Rubio won the GOP primary in Puerto Rico on Sunday, thus notching his second primary victory in the race for his party’s presidential nomination, according to initial projections by the main media outlets.
The Florida senator, who on Saturday traveled to the island to campaign, stands to capture the 23 delegates representing Puerto Rico’s Republican voters, who – although they cannot vote in the general election in November – can participate in the process to select the presidential candidates of each party.
With 45 percent of the votes counted, Rubio has garnered 73.3 percent of the ballots, far ahead of real estate magnate Donald Trump with 13.5 percent and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz with 9.3 percent.
Rubio has the support of the island’s three superdelegates: former Gov. Luis Fortuño, Jennifer Gonzalez – the president of the island’s Republican Party – and Zoraida Fonalledas, a member of one of the U.S. commonwealth’s most powerful families.
The other 20 delegates are up for grabs at the polls, provided one of the candidates manages to obtain more than half the votes, as Rubio seems to have done. If no candidate were to get an outright majority of the votes, the delegates would be divided proportionately among all candidates receiving more than 20 percent of the ballots.
Rubio, who also won the Minnesota primary on Super Tuesday, has had difficulty transforming himself into a clear alternative to Trump, who is far ahead in the delegate count and in the GOP voter surveys.
The Florida senator – who is of Cuban origin and says that Puerto Rico’s current political status as a U.S. commonwealth is “unsustainable” – was the only Republican candidate to visit the island to campaign prior to the primary.