The NMI Republican Party has already moved forward, despite a recent decision by Rep. Donald C. Barcinas to jump ship and switch his allegiance to the gubernatorial bid of former governor Juan N. Babauta.
Party president James Ada said that it was unfortunate that Barcinas decided to leave the party with the election just less than a month away.
Barcinas, a Precinct 3 lawmaker, announced in an impromptu press conference that he has left the GOP.
“It’s unfortunate that [Barcinas] decided to defect after being endorsed by the [local GOP] and certified by the Commonwealth Election Commission as a candidate of the party. All ballots have been printed and many of our off-island supporters have already mailed them,” said Ada.
In declaring his support for Babauta and running mate Dr. Rita A. Sablan, Barcinas has made the independent field more crowded as they now have seven candidates running for the six spots at stake for Precinct 3.
Barcinas joins Rep. Edmund S. Villagomez, Luis S. Tilipao, David C. Sablan, Vicente C. Camacho, Stanley Torres, and Mariano DLG Fajardo, who are also gunning for the six spots in Precinct 3.
Reps. Blas Jonathan T. Attao, Ivan A. Blanco, Francisco S. Dela Cruz, and Jose I. Itibus are running for re-election under the Republican Party with former representative Ralph N. Yumul aiming to return to the 21st Legislature under the GOP.
The local GOP president wishes Barcinas well. “We are moving forward and we respect Barcinas’ decision. While he is no longer a candidate of the party, we wish him luck.”
The GOP board has also assured that the local party remains united. “All [GOP] candidates remain united in working toward securing the people’s victory to ensure that the foundation of the progress that we see today are supported with continuing progress for a much stronger Commonwealth and toward a greater quality of life for our people.”
“We ask for your continuing support and vote of confidence for the Torres-Palacios, Demapan for [U.S.] Congress, and the entire Republican candidates.”
Focus on work ahead
House Speaker Rafael S. Demapan (R-Saipan) said the party must move forward since there’s still a lot of work to do for the people of the CNMI. “At the end of the day, we must all focus on the work at hand for the greater good of our people. We may agree to disagree but we make our people first no matter what party we are in.”
“Barcinas’ decision to part ways with the Republican Party was disappointing [but] it has no impact whatsoever on the leadership’s work and I wish him well.”
He added that he learned of Barcinas leaving the local GOP and switching his allegiance to the Babauta-Sablan ticket from a social media post.
The Precinct 3 lawmaker held the impromptu press conference at the house of the former governor in Gualo Rai to declare his support for Babauta’s third attempt to reclaim the CNMI’s top post.
Barcinas said Gov. Ralph DLG Torres signing into law the marijuana legalization bill was the last straw that made him decide to jump ship and move to the Babauta-Sablan ticket.