So far, five individuals are expected to file their candidacies for senator of Saipan, which has two positions up for grabs for this Nov. 8 general election.
The five who will be running for Saipan senator are Rep. Angel Aldan Demapan (R-Saipan), former representative Janet Ulloa Maratita, Rep. Corina L. Magofna (Ind-Saipan), Rep. Celina R. Babauta (D-Saipan), and former Labor secretary and representative Andrew Sablan Salas.
This developed as Commonwealth Election Commission executive director Kayla Igitol over the weekend reminded the political parties and candidates that this Monday, July 11, is the first day for submission of nominating petitions and candidacies. Aug. 10 is the last day of submission of nominating petitions and candidacy documents, she added.
Two Saipan Senate positions will be vacant in January 2023 upon the expiration of the terms of Sens. Vinnie F. Sablan and Justo S. Quitugua, who are both Republicans.
Sablan is running for lieutenant governor as Gov. Ralph DLG Torres’ running mate in the coming election. It’s not clear yet whether Quitugua is running this election.
Saipan Tribune learned from the CNMI’s Republican Party over the weekend that Demapan and Maratita will be the party’s candidates for Saipan senators. Demapan is the current minority leader of the House of Representatives. He was first elected to the House in 2014 and re-elected in 2016. He was elected again to the House in 2020.
Maratita first assumed office as a member of the House, representing Precinct 1 in January 2017. She was re-elected, but did not seek re-election in the November 2020 general election.
Magofna ran as a Democrat and won a Precinct 3 seat in the House during a special election in October 2021 to replace the seat left vacant by the sudden death of Rep. Ivan A. Blanco (R-Saipan) in July 2021. She earlier announced that she is seeking re-election this November as an independent candidate, but was then reported to be seeking a Senate post instead, also as an independent candidate.
Babauta, a Democrat, was elected to the House, representing Precinct 1 in November 2020. She has yet to reply to Saipan Tribune’s request for comment about her plan for this November election. Posters about her candidacy to run as senator, however, can be seen along several road sides.
The Democratic Party is expected to announce soon their candidates for the House and Senate.
Salas is a former lawmaker and Commerce secretary. He was the CNMI Democratic Party’s candidate for U.S. delegate in the November 2014 election. Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan (Ind-MP) won that election.