Ricardo Rosselló endorses Bill Nelson in Florida’s U.S. Senate race

Darren Soto, Ricardo Rossello, Bill Nelson

Declaring he wanted to stand with a friend of Puerto Rico who has supported the island and its people for a long time, Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló came to Orlando Monday to endorse Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson for re-election over Republican Gov. Rick Scott.

Rosselló, whose endorsement is expected to carry significant weight in Central Florida’s burgeoning Puerto Rican community, also announced Monday that he is endorsing Democratic Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum in the Florida gubernatorial race.

The two endorsements ended some suspense and even offered mild surprise as Rosselló had worked closely with Scott — and Nelson — in recovery efforts for the past year after Florida came to help Puerto Rico both politically and practically after the island was devastated by Hurricane Maria.

It also sparked some anger and frustration from some Florida Republicans who had worked hard to make sure Florida, including Scott, addressed Puerto Rico as a sister in need, and now fear the island’s government could lose with the Republican-led Florida government. State Rep. Bob Cortes, Hispanic outreach liaison for Republican gubernatorial nominee Ron DeSantis‘ campaign, called Rosselló’s endorsement “treacherous” considering all that Scott and Republicans had done.

On Monday Rosselló said it was a tough decision to endorse Nelson because he considered Scott to also be a friend of the island’s residents. but he said in the end he went with Nelson because of his longstanding relationship.

Rosselló and Nelson also spoke to the clear partisan divide on Capitol Hill regarding Puerto Rico, as the Republican tax cuts bill passed at the end 0f 2017 slapped the island with new tax liabilities, which Rosselló said made a desperate economy less competitive; and for the U.S. House’s passage of a disasters bill that had no money in it for Puerto Rico until the Senate, behind Nelson’s push, forced it into the final bill.

In response, Scott’s campaign put out a press release reminding that he also has received many Puerto Rican endorsements, including those of the island’s U.S. Rep. Jennifer Gonzalez-Colon, former Gov. Luis Fortuno, and current Lt. Gov. Luis Rivera Marin.

Rosselló also announced his endorsement of the re-election of Democratic U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy of Winter Park. He previously had endorsed Democratic U.S. Rep. Darren Soto. Murphy is running against Republican state Rep. Mike Miller of Winter  Park.

Scott Powers

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at [email protected]


  • phil morton

    October 1, 2018 at 1:58 pm

    You spelled his name wrong in the headline.

  • Phil Morton

    October 1, 2018 at 2:35 pm

    Thank you for correcting that.

  • Dennis Freytes

    October 1, 2018 at 3:18 pm

    It is a fact that Bill Nelson did nothing for Puerto Ricans until they became a more powerful political force in these last years. I know, because, I have been sending him information on FAIR Treatment-EQUAL Rights for Puerto Ricans for many years! This is a travesty WHEN: American Veterans for Veterans-EQUAL RIGHTS-a Call to Arms (Civic Action)!
    **FAIR Treatment-EQUAL Rights for US Puerto Ricans-US Veterans!**
    SUM: Fellow US Citizens-American Veterans (3.5 million)in the US Territory of Puerto Rico (PR), since1898 (for 120+ years)– face Federal discrimination, per Territorial Clause (1787); Insular Cases (1901-1925+); have a 2d Class US Citizenship without Federal Vote or just representation…; face a complex root cause- “Economic-Job; Fiscal; Infrastructure; Humanitarian; Status-Equality Crisis”- where each part affects the other; the Federal undemocratic Territorial Status affects everything!
    FACTs-This not only a Group question on the Status, but, a Moral one for Individual Equal Rights!
    —US Citizens-American Veterans in the US Territory of Puerto Rico—
    • CAN”T Vote for their US President nor have just representation in the US Congress nor full blood earned Benefits nor Parity in Federal Laws-that includes about 42 Programs, like-Health Care (MEDICARE, MEDICAID), Social Security, Education, Infrastructure, Security…; nor a permanent statutory US Citizenship (if born in PR)…
    • ARE undemocratically controlled by our US Federal Government-Congress (includes borders, currency, laws, defense, Territorial Government…), per the Territorial Clause and Insular Cases.
    • TODAY, in our US Republic’s Representative Democracy System-we, have two Groups of US Citizens-one with all rights, benefits, and responsibilities…; another with a 2d Class US Citizenship-with NO Federal rights, based on the “Territorial Clause” and “Insular Cases”(during Racist Times)-that determined “the US Congress can discriminate in applying the US Constitution to Puerto Rico”!
    • Puerto Ricans are the 2d largest Hispanic Ethnic Group-9+ million strong (5.6+ million live in the States, but, there is an exodus that tax State and local resources…).
    PATRIOTISM: It is incongruent with- our Declaration of Independence (“consent of the governed”); our US Constitution (Equal Bill of Rights) that fellow US Citizens-American Veterans from the US Territory of Puerto Rico–STILL face Federal institutional discrimination; a federal undemocratic Territorial Statutory Status that no other US Territory (Insular Cases were not in force) before Puerto Rico, faced!
    **CONTRIBUTIONS- US Puerto Ricans have sacrificed; shed sweat, blood, and tears for our US Flag; cherish their US Citizenship; have integrated, and contribute to our noble US! Also, Puerto Rican-Hispanic Ancestors, came from Puerto Rico (Boriken) in 1513 to our now USA (Florida)-107 years before the Pilgrims; brought Christianity, advanced civilization of the times; other good things; fought in the US War of Independence; helped develop, and bring progress to our now US “Union of States”!
    ** PR American Veterans have loyally & bravely served; fought, since 1898, in WW-I, WW-II, Korea, Vietnam until Today, under our US Flag, for the Good of All: Family, Community, USA, and Humanity!
    ** Puerto Ricans have earned many Battle Blood Awards, includes-the US 65th Infantry-was awarded the “Congressional Gold Medal” highest honor our US Congress, with US President, can bestow…
    SOLVE- Support a patriotic just cause, ask our US Congress-US President to help fix the root cause of–PR’s “Economic-Job; Fiscal; Infrastructure; Humanitarian; Status-Equality Crisis”- where each part affects the other; the Federal undemocratic Territorial Status affects everything! UNTIE PR’s hands to fairly compete on a level playing field; liberate the educated-hard working entrepreneurial Spirit!

    The Federal Government must provide fellow 2d Class US Citizens-American Veterans who-cherish their US Citizenship; elected a pro-Statehood Territorial Government-Governor, Congresswoman, House, and Senate; voted for Statehood twice (2012 & 2017-Independence never gets more than 2-5% of the Vote)…
    UNITED-With Truth, Reason, Courage, and Civic Action-WE will overcome!

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