Puerto Rico Role Certain to Draw Dems' Scrutiny

Mainland conventional wisdom doesn't apply in June Caribbean vote
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 13, 2008 4:15 PM CDT
Melissa Lopez, 19, from Holyoke, Mass. watches as the Puerto Rican Day Parade makes it's way up Fifth Ave. Sunday, June 10, 2007 in New York. Fifth Avenue pulsed with music and blazed with color on Sunday...   (AP Photo/Tina Fineberg)
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(Newser) – Puerto Rico will vote on the late date of June 1, and the commonwealth might find itself with outsized influence on the Democratic race. Leading Puerto Ricans often deliver for their candidates by wide delegate margins; the territory’s governor has endorsed Barack Obama, but New York’s massive Puerto Rican population could translate into a boost for Hillary Clinton, Real Clear Politics reports.

The Democratic and Republican parties aren't heavyweight political entities in Puerto Rico (its main parties split on the issue of statehood), making for an electorate that might, or might not, express some of the Hispanic-black tensions that have hurt Obama elsewhere. The territory, which doesn’t get to vote in the general election, just switched its 63-delegate contest from a caucus to a primary in anticipation of massive turnout.