On the heels of Kathleen Kennedy Townsend’s announcement that the senior Bush, George H.W., is voting for Hillary Clinton instead of backing the GOP-nominated candidate, lifelong Republican Mike Fernández is going one step further. The Cuban-American billionaire’s spending between $2 million and $4 million to take down Donald Trump. According to the Associated Press, Fernández originally supported Jeb Bush. But because he’s “just beyond belief, every time [Trump] opens his mouth,” he’s now donating money to Florida-based Democratic groups focused on increasing Latino turnout.
Florida’s an important battleground state with 29 electoral votes up for grabs. Based on its analysis of different polls, FiveThirtyEight reports Clinton trails Trump by 8.6 percentage points. While individual polls continue to differ on who’s leading, the general consensus is that it’s a tight race in Florida. When looking at the country as a whole, FiveThirtyEight’s map shows that Florida and Nevada are the states that are most likely to turn blue. Given all this, it makes sense Fernández would focus on Florida.
As CNN points out, the state’s I-4 corridor – the area spanning Tampa to Daytona Beach, which typically decides what way the state will swing – is always crucial. This year, however, there’s much discussion that Puerto Ricans in Central Florida may decide the election. The regionally diverse area’s seen an influx of Puerto Ricans settling in the state. The Associated Press reports that something like 1,000 Puerto Rican families move from the island to Florida each month. And because they’re US citizens, they immediately gain the right to vote in the presidential election.
For the time being, Clinton still has a lot of work to do to win over the Puerto Rican community – despite the fact that she and super PACs that back her have invested $23 million in Orlando, Tampa, and surrounding areas. This includes Spanish-language ads that feature Puerto Ricans. In comparison, Trump’s campaign has only shelled out $5 million, and none of them are in Spanish.
Trump’s campaign has relied on the state’s Republican operatives. And even though billionaire Republicans Charles G. and David H. Koch aren’t discussing the presidential campaign, they are trying to turn the Puerto Rican community Republican. Through the Libre Initiative, Puerto Ricans who recently moved to Florida are being offered help finding jobs or registering their children for school, according to the New York Times.
The AP adds that history shows that this community could end up backing Clinton. But in an election as important as this one, there’s no room to coast. After all, in 2000, George W. Bush officially carried the state with a 537-vote lead.
The general election takes place Tuesday, November 8. If you want to exercise your right to vote, make sure you’re ready to go on election day. In most states, you must be registered a month before, but to be certain check the deadlines here. If you’re not sure if you’re registered, find your official state voter lookup site here.