Its smooth sailing in the Island Territories for Mr. Romney

Mitt Romney’s focus on job creation has lead to a huge win in the Republican Primary in Puerto Rico held on Sunday, gaining 20 delegates. This was a much needed win after a lukewarm electoral season so far. Mr. Romney is the front runner in the bid to be the Republican challenger for the Presidency on November 6th, but has been facing stiff competition from Rick Santorum. Mr. Romney has also won in the other island territories of Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands and U.S. Virgin Islands.

This Puerto Rican primary Mr. Romney won about 83% of the vote, with 60% of the ballot counted, while Mr. Santorum could lay claim to only about 8%. Puerto Rico is a self-governing U.S. commonwealth and its citizens and though its citizens are allowed to participate in partisan party elections, they are not eligible to vote in national elections. (Puerto Ricans who live in the United States proper may vote in national polls.)

With unemployment at 15.1%, one of the largest issues before the people of Puerto Rico is the economy and they feel that Mr. Romney is better placed to help jump start businesses and improve the economy so that there are more jobs for all. Mr. Santorum was expected to do well here as it was felt that his deeply held catholic values and conservative views would resonate with the mostly Roman catholic and conservative population of this U.S. territory. Unfortunately, by voicing the view that Puerto Rico would have to make English its primary language if it wants full statehood of the United States has angered a majority of the voting public.

Puerto Rico at present recognizes both English and Spanish as its official languages and will be voting on a referendum on U.S. statehood in November; then the U.S. Congress will have to approve the formation of a 51st state. As of now the U.S. does not recognize any language as its officially, though there have been many proposals to make English the official U.S. language they have all met with failure.

The next big fight will be in Illinois on Tuesday, where Mr. Romney is facing an increasingly confident Rick Santorum.

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