Republican National Committee chair Michael Steele will visit Saipan for the first time on Sept. 8 to publicly endorse the candidacy of former Gov. Juan N. Babauta as CNMI delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives.
This is the first time a chairman of the Republican National Committee will ever set foot on the CNMI.
Steele's visit comes as the party tries to rally voters behind Republican victory not only in the U.S. mainland but in U.S. territories as well such as Guam and the CNMI.
Babauta, when asked for comment yesterday, said Steele's visit to the CNMI “is important in a number of ways.”
“He's rallying Republican victory in the states, to take over House leadership. The national committee is also serious in sending a Republican from the CNMI to Washington, D.C.,” Babauta told Saipan Tribune.
The delegate election in the CNMI is on Nov. 2.
Steele took the Republican National Committee chairmanship in January 2009 after a turbulent race against incumbent Mike Duncan. Steele is the first African-American to become the chair of the Republican National Committee. He is a former Maryland lieutenant governor.
Babauta met with Steele in Washington, D.C. in July, and that's when Babauta extended an invitation to Steele to come to the CNMI.
“It's very nice of him to accept the invitation and come here to endorse me. It's something that has never happened in the CNMI. No Republican National Committee chair has ever visited the CNMI,” he added.
Babauta's fundraiser will be held a day after his birthday on Sept. 7. He turns 57 that day.
“I wish for prosperity for the CNMI,” Babauta said when asked for his birthday wish.
Babauta's post-birthday fundraiser will be held on Sept. 8, at the Garapan Central Park. Program starts at 6pm.
The CNMI is just one of the stopovers for Steele when he travels from Washington, D.C. early next month. He will be visiting Hawaii before traveling to Guam, and then to the CNMI, before going to Los Angeles.
Babauta is one of four candidates running for delegate to the House of Representatives, along with former Lt. Gov. Jesse Borja and former House floor leader Joseph Camacho.
Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan, who is seeking re-election, also held a fundraiser last night with close to 500 individuals in attendance.
“I made a commitment to work hard when I came into office. I will work even harder,” said Sablan.