Florida Republican Blames His Party's Woes on "Puerto Rican Influx"

The Republican leader of one of Florida's most populous urban centers was asked this week why his party was faring so poorly among voters in the area. His answer was that government-loving "semi-socialist" Puerto Ricans are moving in and changing things for the worse.

The Orlando Sentinel noted yesterday that voter registrations in Orange County, which includes Orlando, had changed significantly since the last election cycle in 2012: Democrats picked up a few thousand new voters, while the GOP actually lost 247 voters. In fact, registered Republicans are now the number three demographic in the region, trailing Dems and voters who registered as "independent" or "no party affiliation"—the fastest-growing segment.

The Sentinel gave both parties' county chairmen a chance to comment on the new numbers, and the Democratic head offered some banal boilerplate about Republican corruption. But Lew Oliver, the chairman of the Orange County GOP—pictured above with embattled Florida Gov. Rick Scott—went in another direction altogether, blaming his party's performance on new "demographics or national trends"—to wit, self-interested Hispanics with a poor work ethic:

The great grand irony of it all is that the massive predominantly Puerto Rican influx that has accounted for nearly all of this is the result of Puerto Ricans almost without exception fleeing Puerto Rico and other states whose economic opportunities have diminished. What do all those places have in common? Puerto Rico, Chicago, Illinois, New York? Democrat governments. You would think at least of few of them would figure that out. If you like a semi-socialist government where the highest aspiration is a nice secure government job, Puerto Rico is heaven on earth, PLUS nice weather!

"Sadly," Oliver concluded, Puerto Rico "is also a terrible basket case. As is Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia, Illinois, New York and just about every other Democrat-controlled state and city in the country."

Besides the fact that Oliver didn't offer much statistical evidence for his suspicions, he didn't answer exactly why, if all these leftist government-cheese-wanting Puerto Ricans are causing the GOP's recruiting problems, most new voters on his turf were opting to be independents, rather than Democrats.

But hey, semi-socialists are semi-crafty like that!