OPINION

Opinion: In Florida, 'Chain Gang' Charlie loses to Cuban-American voters

Charlie Crist delivering his concession speech Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014 in Tampa, Fla.

Charlie Crist delivering his concession speech Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014 in Tampa, Fla.  (ap)

Governor Rick Scott proves once again that Hispanics can beat you at the Florida polls on Election Day or help you win a tight race. Four years ago, Governor Scott carried the Hispanic vote by one point against Democrat Alex Sink and won the state by one percent. In other words, Scott won with the Hispanic vote. He didn’t carry the Hispanic vote this time, but he carried enough of it to win.

Governor Scott won the hotly contested campaign over former Governor, former Republican, former Independent and now Democrat Charlie Crist by about 72,182 votes (at the 1:00 a.m. posting by the state) out of 5,641,730 votes cast by Floridians. Using the CNN exit polls as our source, of all voters, 69 percent were white of which 37 percent voted for Crist and 58 percent voted for Scott.

Perhaps Charlie Crist can change his name to Charlie “Jesu- Cristo,” change his registration and run for something next time as a Hispanic Libertarian.

- Raoul Lowery Contreras

Blacks lived up to the projected block-voting, with 85 percent voting for Crist (AKA Chain Gang Charlie for his resurrection of the infamous black-dominated prison chain gangs in 1996) and only 12 percent for Rick Scott.

Among Hispanics, according to the same source, 58 percent voted for Crist and 38 percent voted for Scott. Hispanic men voted 58 percent for Crist and 40 percent for Scott. Hispanic women voted 59 percent for Crist and 35 percent voted for Scott.

The key to the Hispanic vote and the reason that Scott can claim victory is that 50 percent of Cuban- Americans voted for Crist while 46 percent voted for Scott.

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When all the numbers are gathered and studied, that 46 percent Cuban vote for Scott will probably amount to his winning margin of 72,310.

The key here is the Cuban-American vote for which Florida is famous. Yes, they don’t vote Republican in the percentages they used to as more and more youngsters enter the work and political worlds of Florida. But, as is the case nationally, a Republican need not win the Hispanic vote — a Republican only needs to win 35 percent of the vote to win in Florida.

The history is that, since Hispanic votes have been counted separately in presidential elections (1968), whenever the Republican presidential candidate received 35 percent or more of the Hispanic vote he has won. Florida Governor Rick Scott has achieved that percentage each time he has won.

Perhaps Charlie Crist can change his name to Charlie “Jesu-Cristo,” change his registration and run for something next time as a Hispanic Libertarian.

Raoul Lowery Contreras is a political consultant. He was formerly with the New American News Service of the New York Times Syndicate. Contreras's books are available at Amazon.com

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