The exodus of Puerto Ricans to Florida is transforming its politics

Grisel Robles arrived in Miami in late September, after Hurricane Maria flooded her house and wiped out the life she and her family had. Starting a new job and rebuilding her life, along with her husband and 6-month-old daughter, has left little time to focus on politics. But she is taking note of one aspect of the political landscape.

“I have noticed who is defending our rights as Puerto Ricans,” she said.

While Robles expressed disdain for President Donald Trump because of the administration’s response to storm-ravaged Puerto Rico, she praised Gov. Rick Scott of Florida, a Republican, for his efforts in helping settle Puerto Ricans displaced by the storm. But she also likes Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla. She met him and called him “a humble and accessible man.”

Scott is expected to enter the 2018 Senate race against Nelson, and early polls have them in a dead heat.