Former Puerto Rico governor: Statehooders should still vote for Bloomberg

Former Puerto Rico governor: Statehooders should still vote for Bloomberg
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A former governor and resident commissioner of Puerto Rico on Thursday said that supporters of statehood for the U.S. territory should vote for former presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg in the upcoming primaries despite the former New York City mayor having dropped out of the 2020 race.

Carlos Romero Barceló (D), a key proponent of statehood who led the territory from 1977 to 1985, called on Puerto Ricans to vote for Bloomberg, who openly supports statehood, according to a report on El Nuevo Día.

“Let's vote for Bloomberg. He is the only candidate who clearly expressed himself in favor of economic and political equality for Puerto Rico," said Romero.

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Romero is an influential voice in Puerto Rico politics as one of the founders of the pro-statehood New Progressive Party (PNP), a congregation of the island's Republicans and moderate Democrats.

The former governor is also a senator within the territory's shadow congressional delegation, appointed by former Gov. Ricardo Rosselló — a PNP Democrat — to pursue the cause of statehood in Washington.

Romero said that adding delegates to Bloomberg's cause will help champion the issue of statehood at July's Democratic convention in Milwaukee, despite Bloomberg's exit from the race.

While Bloomberg came out fully in favor of statehood — the core issue for the PNP — the two remaining candidates, former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenSteyer endorses Biden for president Sanders 2020 press secretary: Democratic leadership interested in 'corporate status quo' or 'they're planning to replace Joe' Biden joins calls to release racial breakdowns of coronavirus cases, deaths MORE and independent Vermont Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSteyer endorses Biden for president Sanders says he wouldn't 'drop dead' if Trump decided on universal healthcare Sanders 2020 press secretary: Democratic leadership interested in 'corporate status quo' or 'they're planning to replace Joe' MORE, have taken a neutral position favoring a new vote on the issue.

Two plebiscites in the past decade have heavily favored statehood, but they have not been binding, lacking pre-approval from the Department of Justice.

PNP politicians on the territory, including Gov. Wanda Vázquez Garced (R) and Senate President Thomas Rivera Schatz (R), are pushing a law to include a statehood question in November's general election ballot, but have not received approval from the Department of Justice.