Puerto Rico Set to Play Role in Dem Primary

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SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - Good music dances through the air as a man plays the guitar and sings. The scent of mofongo, rice, peas and other delicious foods can be found on every corner.

Beautiful people walk down the streets and along the beaches. It's all found in Puerto Rico - a place that could decide the fate of the Democratic primary.

Will Obama be the nominee? Watch Dr. Charles Dunn, dean of Regent University School of Government, for more analysis.

It Was Supposed To Be Over

With a population of about four million people, the tiny island, which is about the size of Rhode Island, is getting prepared to step into the spotlight.

"This was supposed to be over on Feb. 5, and it was not," said Roberto Prats.

Prats is the Puerto Rico Democratic Chairman, and he's also a Clinton supporter.

"So, Puerto Rico will play a role like we have never played in our history," he went on to say.

Both Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton know this and have already corralled a group of staffers and volunteers who are urging people to vote by handing out flyers and other campaign paraphernalia.

"I was disenfranchised," said Rob Rexach, an Obama volunteer. "I wasn't going to vote, but I did my research, and I like Obama. He has given me hope."

Noche De Galeria

CBN News caught up with Rexach in Old San Juan Tuesday night. He and a group of about 25 other Obama supporters spent time walking through the historic town, speaking in Spanish and English encouraging Puerto Ricans to vote for Obama.

It is the first Tuesday of the month, and people are starting to gather, as they do every month in Plaza San Jose - near La Forteleza or the Governors Mansion. It's time for Martes de Galeria also known as Noche de Galeria - night of the galleria.

Watch video of Obama supporters handing out flyers at Noche de Galeria by clicking on the play button above.

More than 15,000 women, men, children and young adults will listen to live music, eat, dance and have a good time. The weather is gorgeous - a very pleasant 78 degrees.

Obama supporters stand in the street shouting and people stop to listen.

"As of now, yes, God willing He's the best," said Michael Guaynabo. The 20-year-old San Juan resident recently decided to vote for Obama.

He is currently in college and the perfect profile of an Obama supporter. He and his friend Roque are holding Obama flags.

Roque lived in Florida for a year, but now resides in a tiny town outside San Juan.

"My family likes Obama," Roque said. "And I decided six months ago to vote for him."

Clinton Gets A Little Help From Her Friends

But not everyone is supporting Obama. A few blocks away, a viewing party is being held at Clinton's headquarters.

More than 50 people or so are gathered in a room, watching the results of the Tuesday Primary votes in North Carolina and Indiana.

"In Puerto Rico we have always been taught - since we were very little - that we help those that help us," Prats said. "Hillary Clinton has always, always been there for Puerto Rico. It's time for Puerto Rico to be there for her."

Politics Done A Different Way

The way politics is done on the tiny island is different. There is a three party system comprised of the Common Wealth Party, the Statehood Party and the Independence Party.

Those who are members of the Commonwealth Party tend to lean to the left and are Democrats. The Statehood Party is comprised of both Republicans and Democrats and the Independence Party is made up of people who want to be separated from the United States.

"Hillary Clinton has been able to bring prominent members of the Commonwealth Party and prominent members of the Statehood Party together because we're united behind her candidacy," said Pratt when asked why he supported Clinton.

Puerto Rico was originally supposed to hold a caucus, but will now hold a primary. The move is aimed at giving more people a chance to take part in the election process. Puerto Ricans can vote in the primary, but not the general election.

The U.S. territory gets 55 delegates.

Latest Results

According to the latest poll numbers, Clinton is ahead of Obama in Puerto Rico

Just how big Puerto Rico's role will be is still to be determined due to the unfolding drama of the Democratic primary.

Obama won the primary in North Carolina Tuesday by 14 percentage points and Clinton squeaked by and won the Indiana primary by two percentage points.

The next contest takes place May 13 in West Virginia.

Watch The 700 Club Thursday for a look at how the race is developing in The Mountaineer State.  Keep checking CBNNews.com and The Brody File for more reports from Puerto Rico.

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CBN News
Robin Mazyck

Robin Mazyck


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