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Ron DeSantis Remains -3000 Favorite Even After Migrant "Mishap"

Written by:
Gilbert Horowitz
Published on:
Sep/16/2022

Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis is taking credit for sending dozens of undocumented migrants via two planes to Martha's Vineyard.  It's a move that may make some in the Republican base ecstatic while angering others in South Florida's right-leaning Latin American communities.

While polls show DeSantis' Democratic challenger within striking distance, the incumbant Florida Governor remains a -3000 favorite to be reelected in November.  Charlie Crist (D) pays $90 for every $10 bet should he somehow pull out the upset.  It remains to be seen what impact, if any, the Governor's move will have on the odds.

Most of those sent to Martha's Vineyard this week were from Venezuela.  South Florida's thriving Venezuelan population does have a tendency to vote Democratic based on a 2019 survey.  They also represent a relatively small voter block. There are an estimated 100,000 registered Venezuelan voters in Florida.

Miami's Cuban population is more in the GOP camp.  Therein lies the problem.  Though there did not appear to be any Cubans among those sent by plane to the tiny Massachusetts island, DeSantis' administration previously suggested they could be next.   DeSantis himself has since attempted to walk things back by saying Cubans would be exempt, but the cat is already out of the bag.

Last month, Florida Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez, a Cuban American and DeSantis’s running mate, suggested in a Spanish-language radio interview that Cuban migrants arriving in the Sunshine State could be bussed elsewhere.   And there are plenty of them.

U.S. immigration officials arrested 187 Cuban migrants in Mid-August after they arrived in the Florida Keys on 10 separate boats.

Florida state Sen. Annette Taddeo, who’s challenging Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar (R-Fla.) for her Miami-area House seat in November, seized on the opportunity to criticize DeSantis' move.

“It’s something that the extreme Trumpian base loves,” Taddeo told The Hill in a brief interview on Thursday. “You can’t be talking about anti-communism and be talking about freedom in Venezuela, Nicaragua, Cuba and all these other countries if you’re going to do this: mistreat people when they come here fleeing oppressive regimes.”

Crist's campaign was quick to release a radio ad capitalizing on the controversial matter that has now garnered national media attention.

“He’s a political animal. That’s crystal clear,” Crist said of DeSantis on Thursday. “And unfortunately he’s using human beings to try to make political points like he’s already a dictator.”

Crist also suggested that the DeSantis administration was using children as pawns.

Photos of the migrants chaotic arrival on the small island sparked outrage after reports surfaced that they were misled as to their final destination.  Small children were among those on display.

Mike Rivero of Cubanos Pa'lante, a Miami-based progressive organization that promotes a "get out the vote" campaign within the Cuban-American community, tells the Miami New Times he reacted to the scenes with "disgust."

"How are we so proud about people getting moved around arbitrarily without being told where they're going?" says Rivero. "They are almost being thrown around like cattle. These are human beings and refugees."

Rivero and others considered the action taken by DeSantis as a type of "forced relocation".  That categorization could stick in South Florida, which allowed the GOP to carry the state in the 2020 Presidential election.

"DeSantis just a few months ago came to Miami talking about people fleeing communist regimes and always to support them," Rivero tells New Times. "It's the clearest example of how he's pandering for votes from the Latino community, especially Cuban Americans. He's manipulating the entire situation to get re-elected."

- Gilbert Horowitz, Gambling911.com

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