Cape Canaveral, Florida (CNN) - Puerto Rico Gov. Luis Fortuno has endorsed Mitt Romney, in a boon to the GOP candidate's efforts to woo Florida's Latino voters ahead of Tuesday's primary.
Puerto Rico's top official will campaign with Romney at an event Friday evening in Orlando.
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Earlier in the day, Romney said he would support a move by Puerto Rico towards statehood, and referenced Fortuno's "passionate" support for that process.
"I expect the people of Puerto Rico will decide, like he feels, to become a state," Romney told a cheering audience at the Hispanic Leadership Network conference. "I can tell you that I will work with him that if that vote comes out in favor of statehood we will go through the process in Washington to provide statehood to Puerto Rico."
Puerto Rican voters will weigh in on a referendum regarding possible statehood in November.
In a statement, Fortuno, who has been mentioned as a possible vice presidential candidate, said Romney had shown his private sector record "can be applied to all challenges."
"Mitt Romney is the one candidate who has the record, leadership, experience, and pro-growth plan to continue the course of private-sector job creation we've begun in Puerto Rico and provide economic stability for generations," Fortuno said in a statement.
Puerto Rico's Republican caucuses will be held March 18, when 23 delegates are at stake. However, Puerto Rico is not allocated any electoral votes in November's election.
The announcement would clearly be a disappointment to some - at Thursday's CNN Florida Republican Presidential Debate, another candidate, Rick Santorum, cited his friendship with Fortuno.
"I will give a shout-out to Governor Luis Fortuno, who is a good friend of mine," Santorum said. "I know him and his family, we have known each other for many years, we actually used to go to church together."