José A. Delgado, the Washington correspondent for El Nuevo Día, Puerto Rico's largest newspaper, tweeted that Puerto Rican Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi (a non-voting member of the US Congress), a Democrat who is also a member of the island's pro-statehood New Progressive Party (PNP) will not be attending a local PNP rally tomorrow that will feature Republican candidate Mitt Romney and Puerto Rican pro-statehood and Republican governor Luis Fortuño.
The reason? Romney's ads against Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who is of Puerto Rican descent. Pierluisi, in essence, is the Washington representation of the Fortuño administration. This is like if the Vice President of the United States decided to not attend an event that the President and the Democratic Party would be running. Fortuño has publicly endorsed Romney, but he also met this week with Rick Santorum, who has no idea that the official languages of Puerto Rico are Spanish and English. Welcome to the topsy-turvy world of Puerto Rican politics.
Puerto Rico holds its GOP primary this Sunday March 18. Puerto Rican voters can participate in the primary, but they cannot vote for president in November if they claim residency on the island.
This is what Delgado tweeted out in Spanish this morning:
Delgado followed up with a report in END.com. The report was written in Spanish and we have provide translated excerpts of the article done by our editors:
After having criticized ads that questioned the Puerto Rican Sonia Sotomayor, the first Hispanic in the United States Supreme Court, [Pierluisi’s office] has stated that Pierluisi would not go to a PNP leadership to promote the Romney's presidential candidacy Romney.
In 2008, Pierluisi… was [Puerto Rico’s] co-chair of the campaign of President Barack Obama.
"If [Romney] is seeking support from the Tea Party, he may advance in the Republican primary, but it will not win the presidency," said Pierluisi in a recent conference call.
Pierluisi's office confirmed today that "although the Resident Commissioner is urging active PNP participation in the primary, he will clearly not share the stage with any of the Republican candidates for president."
Originally, Republicans calculated that Puerto Ricans could have between 300,000 and 400,000 voters participating in the GOP primary. They have recently lowered their expectations to about 100,000.