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Marco Rubio Sweeps Puerto Rico Primary

Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., speaks in Toa Baja, Puerto Rico, on Saturday.
Paul Sancya

Marco Rubio has won the Puerto Rico's Republican primary and will net all of its 23 delegates.

With all votes reporting, the Florida senator took 71 percent of the vote, followed by Donald Trump at 13 percent, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz at 9 percent and Ohio Gov. John Kasich with just 1 percent.

Because Rubio topped 50 percent of the vote, he will net all 23 delegates up for grabs.

The Florida senator was the only candidate to visit the territory, campaigning there on Saturday, where he downplayed his poor showing in Saturday's slate of primaries. But delegates added on Sunday will help his total climb against Trump and Cruz. And the territory awards just as many delegates as some other smaller states, such as New Hampshire, where Rubio had a disappointing finish last month.

Overall, it's just the second outright win for Rubio; he also won the Minnesota caucuses on Super Tuesday. The Florida senator has had strong second place showings in many states, but his rivals have derided those silver or bronze medals, saying he needs to prove he can win states outright. After Saturday's primaries, where Rubio missed the delegate threshold in two states, Trump argued it was time for the senator to drop out of the race.

Rubio's campaign argues today marks a turning point where that will begin to happen, and that the map going forward is now in their favor, starting on March 15th in the Florida primary.

The senator's campaign hopes his win with Hispanics in the territory will boost help boost him over Trump in the Sunshine State. The GOP front-runner has been under fire for disparaging remarks about Latinos and his hardline immigration policies.

This is the only time Puerto Rico Republicans will be able to make their choice known, though; they're ineligible to vote in the November elections.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Jessica Taylor is a political reporter with NPR based in Washington, DC, covering elections and breaking news out of the White House and Congress. Her reporting can be heard and seen on a variety of NPR platforms, from on air to online. For more than a decade, she has reported on and analyzed House and Senate elections and is a contributing author to the 2020 edition of The Almanac of American Politicsand is a senior contributor to The Cook Political Report.
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