Vice  President Mike Pence coming to Kissimmee

Vice President Mike Pence is coming to Kissimmee next week.  

He is scheduled to speak at a Latinos for Trump event on Jan. 16 at the Nación de Fe church on West U.S. Highway 192 after first stopping in Tampa for a Keep America Great rally, according to the re-election campaign for President Donald Trump.

The vice president headlined the kick-off event for the Latinos for Trump coalition in Miami in June. That rally occurred just before the Democrats’ first presidential debate, also in Miami, and a week after Trump officially announced his re-election campaign in Orlando.

Pence’s visit to Kissimmee is ostensibly aimed at winning over Hispanic voters – one of the most sought-after voting blocs in the Sunshine State. Florida is considered a “swing state,” because it could feasibly be won by either the Democratic or Republican presidential candidate.

Trump and Pence earned about 33 percent support from Latino voters nationwide, and about 35 percent in Florida in the 2016 election.

Meanwhile, Nacion de Fe – located in the heart of Osceola’s tourism and motel district – Gov. Ron DeSantis spoke at the Nacion de Fe (Nation of Faith) in the fall of 2018 during his campaign.

Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez is co-chairwoman of the Latinos for Trump group alongside Pence. The president was a staunch supporter of the DeSantis’ campaign.

In Central Florida, voters who identify as Puerto Rican, are being courted by both parties. The region is home to the state’s largest concentration of Puerto Ricans, a significant number of whom moved here from the island following Hurricane Maria in September 2017.

Some 37,000 Puerto Ricans relocated to Osceola and Orange counties, according to U.S. Census data released last summer. That brought Osceola’s Puerto Rican population to 123,897 in 2018 and about 1.2 million statewide, according to the figures.

Back-to-back earthquakes rocked the island Monday and Tuesday, which could possibly bring more Puerto Ricans to Florida.

The island is a U.S. territory and its residents already are U.S. citizens.

While Puerto Ricans have emerged as a crucial presidential campaign demographic, only one in five island transplants support Trump, according to a survey from Florida International University.

About 350,000 Puerto Ricans are registered to vote in Florida, according to the Miami Herald.

Roughly 180,000 are registered Democrats, more than 70,000 are registered Republicans and some 100,000 do not affiliate with either party, according to the Herald.  

The number of island-born, eligible Puerto Rican voters in Florida has increased 30 percent since 2016, according to Pew Research.