Just a couple of months ago, former Vice President Joe Biden picked up endorsements from 25 Puerto Rican leaders, ranging from former Puerto Rico Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla to several Florida members of the U.S. legislature.
One of these leaders, former state Rep. Robert Asencio, has changed his mind. Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg endorsed Puerto Rico statehood recently, and Asencio changed his endorsement to Bloomberg.
Asencio specifically cited Bloomberg’s support for statehood for his change of heart, and also spoke of Bloomberg’s past connections with the Puerto Rican community. Until recently, New York had the largest Puerto Rican population of any state. Florida surged ahead of New York after Hurricane Maria, and now has an estimated 1.2 million residents of Puerto Rican heritage.
Asencio is not the only Florida legislator to support Bloomberg’s candidacy.
Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-FL) is Bloomberg’s National Co-Chair. Rep. Darren Soto (D-FL) endorsed Bloomberg’s plan for Puerto Rico. Soto has the largest percentage of Puerto Rican constituents of any member of the U.S. Congress.
Bloomberg is campaigning aggressively in Florida. Having missed the deadline for ballots in early primary and caucus states, Bloomberg is focusing on Super Tuesday states, including Florida. Recent polls show him second to Biden in the Sunshine State.
Does Biden support statehood for Puerto Rico?
Joe Biden has spoken favorably about statehood for Puerto Rico in the past, but has stopped short of committing himself to statehood during this year’s campaign.
Current candidates who have unambiguously supported Puerto Rico statehood in the 2020 presidential campaign include Bloomberg and Andrew Yang. Tulsi Gabbard has not spoken up, but did vote for a Puerto Rico admissions bill in 2015.