In Florida, all eyes on Puerto Rican voters after Maria

This photo made available by the U.S. Coast Guard shows residents near Utado Puerto Rico, waiting for supplies to be dropped from the air, Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017. The residents were stranded by roads washed out by the storm and mudslides. Nearly two weeks after the storm, 95 percent of electricity customers remain without power, while 55 percent do not have access to drinking water. (Eric D. Woodall/U.S. Coast Guard via AP)

MIAMI (AP) – The arrival of more than than 130,000 Puerto Ricans in Florida since Hurricane Maria has some officials anticipating a political shakeup in a battleground state dominated by the Republican party.

Both parties are actively courting new arrivals to Florida, which President Donald Trump won last year by 112,000 votes out of 9.6 million cast.

Many Puerto Ricans have expressed outrage over Trump’s handling of the storm but have applauded efforts by Republican Gov. Rick Scott to welcome them.

As U.S. citizens, Puerto Ricans can vote in federal elections when they move to the mainland. Newcomers must register as voters by next July 30 to vote in primaries ahead of the 2018 general election of a new governor to replace term-limited Scott and choose Florida’s congressional delegation.

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