Ex-governor Babauta, Sablan file candidacies

10 Saipan, Tinian independent candidates, 1 Democratic also file candidacies

Former governor Juan N. Babauta and former education commissioner Dr. Rita A. Sablan pose for a group photo with supporters, family members, independent candidates, and a Democratic Party candidate and officials outside the Commonwealth Election Commission in Susupe yesterday morning. (Ferdie de la Torre)

Former governor Juan N. Babauta and former education commissioner Dr. Rita A. Sablan are now officially candidates for governor and lieutenant governor, respectively, in the Nov. 6 general election.

Babauta and Sablan filed their candidacies as independent candidates before the Commonwealth Election Commission yesterday morning.

“It is now official,” announced Babauta after he completed the filing, drawing cheers from several family members, supporters, and other independent candidates.

Democratic Party chair Daniel Quitugua and its officials were also present to show their support to the Babauta-Sablan team. Former governor Carlos Camacho also showed up.

Babauta and Sablan are challenging incumbent Gov. Ralph DLG Torres and Senate President Arnold I. Palacios (R-Saipan), of the NMI Republican Party, for the top CNMI positions. Torres and Palacios have yet to file their candidacies.

Six other independent Saipan candidates, four independent Tinian candidates, and one Democratic Party bet also filed their candidacies yesterday morning.

For Saipan, former lawmaker Heinz Sablan Hofschneider files his candidacy for the Senate; former representative Stanley Tudela McGinnis Torres files his candidacy for Precinct 3 of the House of Representatives; Joseph Muna Mendiola is running for Precinct 5; Vicente Castro Camacho is running for Precinct 3; Dorotheo Anthony Kisa is running for Precinct 1; and David Castro Sablan is running for Precinct 3.

Peter Francisco Reyes Muna, of the Democratic Party, filed his candidacy for Precinct 5. He is the second Democratic Party member to file candidacy so far.

For Tinian, former senator Henry Hofschneider San Nicolas filed his candidacy for Tinian mayor. Juanita Masga Mendiola and Eric Henry Cruz San Nicolas filed their candidacies for Senate. Frederick Arend Dela Cruz filed his candidacy for House.

Babauta served as the sixth elected governor of the CNMI for one term, from 2002 to 2006. He sought re-election under the Republican Party in 2005, but was defeated by Benigno R. Fitial of the Covenant Party.

In 2014, Babauta, with former senator Juan Torres as his running mate, ran for governor as an independent. The late governor Eloy S. Inos won.

Babauta served as resident representative of the NMI in Washington, D.C. for three four-year terms, from 1990 to 2002.

Sablan retired in 2016 after eight years as education commissioner. She was the recipient of the Peter Brice Award in July 2016. The award is given to the top educator in the Pacific region in honor of New Zealand’s late Minister of Education.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@Saipantribune.com

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