Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney won Puerto Rico’s Republican primary on Sunday.
With about 83 percent of ballots counted, Romney took an overwhelming 83 percent of the vote. By getting more than 50 percent of total votes, Romney will take all 20 of the territory’s delegates.
Despite spending time campaigning on the island on Wednesday and Thursday, former senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania fell far behind Romney, taking about 8 percent of the vote.
Romney probably got a boost from his unqualified support for Puerto Rican statehood, the top issue in the race. Santorum, on the other hand, faced a backlash after suggesting that statehood be contingent on Puerto Rico making English its main language. (Former House speaker Newt Gingrich and Texas Rep. Ron Paul largely ignored the territory and took a very small share of the vote.).
Romney also had the support of most of the state establishment, including Gov. Luis Fortuno (R).
In 2008 the state GOP held a caucus; only 208 people participated.
As primaries go, Puerto Rico’s is not the most critical. There were only 100,000 registered Republicans in the state as of the 2000 election; the primary was open to all voters. Residents cannot vote in the general election.
But in what’s becoming a delegate race between Romney and Santorum, every little bit counts.