Senate President Ralph Torres (R-Saipan) laid out yesterday his major priorities: working with the Inos administration to address pressing issues facing the CNMI such as prolonging the NMI Retirement Fund’s lifespan, along with “reunifying” the Republican Party, whose previous members include Gov. Eloy S. Inos of the Covenant Party and many others now calling themselves either as independents or Independent-Republicans.
Torres, the CNMI acting governor starting today, is inviting Inos to “come back to the Republican Party.”
Inos earlier told Saipan Tribune that Torres is among those he is considering as his running mate—or his lieutenant governor candidate—in the 2014 elections.
Inos is seeking a full-year term. He became governor on Feb. 20 when former governor Benigno R. Fitial resigned days before the start of his impeachment trial at the Senate.
The Inos 2014 Campaign, when sought for comment yesterday, said that Torres’ invitation for the governor to rejoin the Republican Party “is currently a matter under active discussion and at this time, Gov. Inos is still consulting his supporters on this and other matters pertaining to his gubernatorial bid next year.”
“The governor anticipates that a decision will be finalized in the coming weeks,” said Angel A. Demapan, spokesman for the Inos 2014 Campaign.
Torres said the Republican Party has been fractured so many times throughout the years that it is time to reunite the party for the CNMI’s sake.
“Among my priorities is to reunify the Republican Party. Even the governor was a member of the Republican Party, a lot of independents were members of the Republican Party. We would like to reunite the party and make it a stronger party,” Torres told Saipan Tribune yesterday.
Earlier, Torres was one of those potential gubernatorial candidates.
The 2014 gubernatorial race may now go down to only Inos versus former House speaker Heinz Hofschneider, an independent and a former Republican.
Torres will be the acting governor starting today as Inos attends a two-day regional security roundtable in Guam and Lt. Gov. Jude U. Hofschneider remains off-island on personal leave.
As of yesterday, there was no telling when Hofschneider will return to the CNMI.
The governor is attending the regional security roundtable hosted by the Guam-U.S.-Asia Security Alliance, or GUASA, at the Hyatt Regency Guam today and tomorrow.
Press secretary Angel Demapan and the lieutenant governor’s counsel, Wes Bogdan, will be accompanying the governor to Guam. In the absence of a Military Integration Management Committee coordinator, Demapan and Bogdan are currently working together on military matters of mutual interest to the governments of the CNMI and Guam.
The GUASA roundtable brings together some of the nation’s top intelligence analysts and national security experts in a bid to give clarity to calls for rebalancing U.S. interests in the area.