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Boricua backers: Puerto Rican leaders endorse Andrew Gillum for Governor

More than a dozen Puerto Rican leaders across the U.S. have announced their support for Andrew Gillum‘s campaign for Governor.

Gillum, the Democratic candidate in the race, currently serves as Mayor of Tallahassee. He is competing against former U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, the Republican nominee.

Among Gillum’s new spate of backers are former Puerto Rico Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla and U.S. Rep. Darren Soto of Florida’s 9th Congressional District.

State Reps. Robert Asencio, John Cortes and Amy Mercado also endorsed Gillum’s campaign, along with state Sen. Victor Torres.

Rounding out the list of 19 new endorsements for Gillum are:

— U.S. Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez of New York.

— U.S. Congressman Luis Gutierrez of Illinois. 

— Gurabo Mayor Rosachely Rivera Santiago.

— Puerto Rico Senator Margarita Nolasco Santiago. 

— Osceola County Commissioner Viviana Janer. 

— Orange County Commissioner Emily Bonilla. 

— Greenacres Mayor Joel Flores. 

— Melbourne Councilwoman Teresa Lopez. 

— Former Chairman of Democratic Party of Puerto Rico Charlie Rodriguez.

—  Alianza for Progress President Juan Marcos Villar.

— Democratic Hispanic Caucus President Noemi McGregor. 

— Florida Puerto Rico Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Chairman Sam Lopez. 

— Former Puerto Rican Bar Association President Anthony Suarez. 

In total, 15 of those 19 are based in Florida. Gillum issued a reaction thanking them for their statement of support.

“It’s an incredible honor to have the endorsement and support of Puerto Rican community leaders across the state who are working every single day for the people of Puerto Rico – on the island and here in Florida,” Gillum said.

“As Mayor, I’ve stood up for our Puerto Rican brother and sisters and as Governor, I will work to build a Florida that works for everyone – and I will ensure Puerto Ricans are treated with the respect and dignity they deserve.”

Many Puerto Ricans who fled to Florida as a result of Hurricane Maria say they plan to stay in the state. That’s led members of both parties to pursue the support of that community ahead of Nov. 6.

Gillum hammered home that pitch, emphasizing the need to get involved in the midterms: “The best tool we have this year to send a message that nuestros Boricuas are just as American as you and me is to register to vote before Oct. 9!”

Written By

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to

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