Former House speaker and would-be 2014 gubernatorial candidate Heinz Hofschneider’s team has been asking some individuals—including Rep. Ralph Yumul (Ind-Saipan)—to become Hofschneider’s potential running mate. Meanwhile, incumbent Covenant Party members, independents, and so-called Independent-Republicans are weighing the Republican Party’s invitation to reunite with the GOP.
Yumul confirmed with Saipan Tribune that one of Hofschneider’s campaign committee members approached him two weeks ago, asking whether he’s interested in running for lieutenant governor in November 2014.
As of yesterday, he has not decided on the Hofschneider camp invitation.
“As of today, I am a representative candidate for Precinct 3 and an independent. Right now, I haven’t considered running for lieutenant governor,” Yumul said, adding that he still has to consult with his family and supporters on the matter.
Yumul also pointed out that he has not heard directly from Hofschneider, who is currently off island.
The Hofschneider camp has also reached out to other individuals to ask whether they would like to run as lieutenant governor in 2014, sources said, and these individuals include a former lawmaker, a top education official, and a former Cabinet member.
Gov. Eloy S. Inos, who has already confirmed his intention of running as governor for a full four-year term in 2014, said that Senate President Ralph Torres (R-Saipan) is among the few he is eyeing for a running mate.
Torres, for his part, said his priority is to work with the Inos administration in addressing pressing issues such as the NMI Retirement Fund, and to reunite the Republican Party, which Inos is a former member.
Meanwhile, the four Covenant Party members now in the House of Representatives met last week to discuss the GOP’s invitation to reunite with them, but the incumbent Covenants said they are still weighing their options.
“We have not come up with a decision as a group,” said Rep. Christopher Leon Guerrero (Cov-Saipan).
Former lieutenant governor and former speaker Diego Benavente, the vice chair of Independent Republicans, said yesterday that the IRs will meet tomorrow night “to talk about the future of the group.”
“We are sticking together as a group, as a team,” Benavente said.
Part of Tuesday’s discussions would be the GOP’s invitation to its former members such as the IRs to rejoin the group, the IR’s coalition with the Covenant Party, which the GOP is also inviting to rejoin them, and the 2014 elections.
Jack Villagomez, chairman of the Republican Party, said Friday that the GOP will continue to ask former members to rejoin and make the party stronger.