Igisomar is GOP’s bet for special election

Glenna SP Reyes comes extremely close to getting top spot

Commerce Secretary and Lottery Commission chair Sixto Kaipat Igisomar bested three other individuals last night to become the Republican Party’s official candidate for a Nov. 4 special election for a Saipan senatorial seat. The special election will fill a Senate seat vacated by now independent lieutenant governor bet Ray N. Yumul.

“I am humbled and honored to be selected to represent the GOP,” Igisomar told Saipan Tribune last night when the results of the voting were known.

This is Igisomar’s first time to run in an election.

Igisomar got the highest vote among three other contenders: former Legislative Bureau director Glenna SP Reyes, Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. board trustee Roy Rios, and Steven Sablan.

Ivan Blanco, chairman of the GOP Central Committee’s public relations team, said last night that there were 24 votes cast, adding that it was an “extremely close vote.”

Blanco, in a separate statement, said each of the four individuals was allotted five minutes to “express their desire to serve the people of the CNMI as senator under the GOP banner.” They were joined by family members and supporters.

Each of the 24 GOP Central Committee members was given a ballot for the selection process. The four candidates were present to witness the voting.

“After all 24 ballots were counted and verified, [GOP] president James Ada announced the selection of Mr. Igisomar, with Mrs. Glenna Sakisat Palacios Reyes coming in second after an extremely close voting result,” Blanco said.

GOP president Ada said it was a “difficult process” for all the voting members of the central committee “because all four candidates possess the caliber, experience, and passion to represent the people of the CNMI under the GOP banner.”

“If there were two seats for the special election, the GOP would have gladly selected both Glenna and Sixto as they came out with highest votes. Tonight, through the voting selection process, the GOP central committee members have selected Mr. Igisomar. We appreciate the support from the individual family members and friends present this evening,” Ada said in a statement last night.

Ada said he would especially like to thank Glenna SP Reyes for her participation in this process.

“The Senate is losing a great member with the retirement of her husband, Sen. Pete P. Reyes, but the party is hopeful that Glenna will be back in 2016,” Ada added.

Reyes authored the bill that became law, prohibiting individuals from running for more than one election, be it a general, special or local race. The bill also essentially prohibited those who were already certified to run for two vacant Saipan Senate seats in the Nov. 4 general elections from also running in the November special election for a third Saipan Senate seat.

Igisomar is among Gov. Eloy S. Inos’ Cabinet members seeking an elected post this November.

Others include Department of Lands and Natural Resources Secretary Arnold I. Palacios, who is seeking a Saipan senatorial seat, and press secretary Angel Demapan, seeking a House of Representatives seat representing Precinct 1.

Robert A. Guerrero, executive director of the Commonwealth Election Commission, said that as of yesterday, no individual has so far filed a petition and candidacy for the special election.

The deadline for filing candidacy for the special election is Sept. 18, Thursday.

Haidee V. Eugenio | Reporter
Haidee V. Eugenio has covered politics, immigration, business and a host of other news beats as a longtime journalist in the CNMI, and is a recipient of professional awards and commendations, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s environmental achievement award for her environmental reporting. She is a graduate of the University of the Philippines Diliman.

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