The Washington Post
LONGWOOD, Fla. — Republican Bob Cortes was the first Puerto Rican mayor of this Orlando suburb. He became the first Puerto Rican from Seminole County to be elected to the state House.
He doesn’t want to be the first Puerto Rican from the county to lose his seat.
But the demographics are changing rapidly here in Central Florida, a mecca of undecided voters stretching from Orlando to Tampa that helps swing state elections and that is rapidly becoming home to more Puerto Ricans, Venezuelans, Colombians and Dominicans.
Cortes said he campaigns as “an elected official who happens to be Hispanic, not a Hispanic elected official,” adding that that means “understanding the diversity of the people who live in the district.”
Unlike a generation ago, when the state’s large Cuban American population was devoted to the GOP, these new Latino voters are less likely to support Republican candidates such as Cortes — and they are increasingly unlikely to register with either political party. “No Party Affiliation” voters — known as “NPAs” in local political vernacular — now account for 26 percent of Florida’s electorate, the fastest-growing bloc in the state, according to the latest state voter statistics.