Candidate criticized for saying displaced Puerto Ricans shouldn’t be able to vote in Florida

Washington (CNN) The Republican congressional candidate is dealing with a backlash after saying that Puerto Ricans who moved to Florida within the wake of Hurricane Maria this past year should not be able to register to election in the state.

Ward replied simply by saying, “First of all, I do not think they should be allowed to register to election. It’s not lost on me that will, I think, the Democrat party’s actually hoping that they can change the voting subscribes in a lot of counties and areas, and I don’t think they should be allowed to do this. ”
The particular candidate went on to say that “we should be looking to put the Puerto Ricans back in their homes. The idea that they could come to the mainland United States, We don’t necessarily have a problem with that, yet I think we should be thinking about it in terms of obtaining them back home and providing the main city and resources to rebuild Puerto Rico, which is, I honestly believe, is where they belong. ”

The remark, which Ward made at a applicant forum last month, has produced criticism from fellow Republicans.

    Puerto Rico six months after Hurricane Maria

Republican Representative. Ron DeSantis, who currently signifies Florida’s 6th District, issued the statement Tuesday in response to Ward’s comments, saying that “candidates running for workplace as Republicans need to be committed to equivalent treatment under the law for all of our own citizens. ”
“Puerto Ricans are Oughout. S. citizens and any recommendation that they should be treated differently compared to other Americans is beyond the particular pale, ” the congressman stated in the statement. “These are our own fellow Americans and candidates operating for office as Republicans have to be committed to equal treatment under the legislation for all of our citizens. ”
On Monday, Frank Cortes, a Republican member of the particular Florida House of Representatives, recommended Fred Costello, a Republican operating against Ward, in his own declaration criticizing the comments.
“I find it very unaware and highly offensive that somebody would suggest that an American citizen must not be afforded their constitutional right to sign-up to vote, ” Cortes stated in a phone call with CNN upon Tuesday.
In an emailed statement, Ward informed CNN on Tuesday, “I uphold what I said, ” adding, “I do not believe the Democrat Celebration should be able to take advantage of Puerto Rican evacuees fleeing a natural disaster, here on the temporary basis, in order to manipulate voter registrations rolls in the run to the 2018 elections. I would welcome any kind of Puerto Rican who wants to permanently resettle in Florida to register to election here. We’re all American citizens together. Nevertheless, if a natural disaster displaced me personally from Florida to some other condition temporarily, I’d still want to election by absentee in FL, the home community and voter enrollment, and not elsewhere. ”
Costello, who was also in the voter forum last month plus whose campaign uploaded the video in order to YouTube, told CNN in a cell phone interview that he “can’t imagine anyone endorsing John Ward and aiming themselves with that comment. ”
In the Youtube-video, Costello said he “absolutely disagree(d)” with the comment, adding, “Puerto Ricans are citizens of the United States of The united states. They have a right to go anywhere in the usa. ”