This early, CNMI Republican Party bet and incumbent Gov. Eloy S. Inos and his running mate, Senate President Ralph Torres (R-Saipan), are already courting the support of losing gubernatorial candidates in Tuesday’s general elections.
With the Inos/Torres tandem looking at a runoff race with independent candidate Heinz Hofschneider and his running mate, former Senate floor leader Ray Yumul, the CNMI GOP standard bearer said they will be reaching out to the camps of independent Juan N. Babauta and Juan S. Torres and CNMI Democratic Party bets Edward “Tofila” M. Deleon Guerrero and Daniel O. Quitugua.
“Ralph and I are humbled by the turnout and the confidence of the community in us in continuing to move forward with progress. We will do just that. I do want to thank the camps of [former] governor Babauta and Ed Deleon Guerrero for a hard-fought campaign and we do ask for their support to the team of Inos-Torres in the runoff elections,” he said in an interview with Saipan Tribune shortly after noon yesterday.
CNMI GOP president James Ada said the party will be meeting to plan their strategy in the runoff polls and that they will definitely ask for the support of Babauta and Deleon Guerrero.
Inos volunteered that he already had an inkling he and Torres were going to get the lion’s share of the votes following the counting of the early votes.
“After the advance voting, that’s a large chunk already. I was looking at the trend and I said if that continued we would be in the position to make the runoff and at least lead it,” he said.
The governor also winced at the missed opportunity of winning the race outright. Inos/Torres got only 46.6 percent of the total votes cast, just about 4 percentage points less than the required 50-percent-plus-one.
“It was so close. I was hoping we could get a sufficient number from the remaining ballots so we didn’t have to go to a runoff. But it’s OK and we’re prepared for the runoff,” he added.
Torres attributed their team’s win to sticking to the issues on hand and not resorting to dirty politics.
“We ran a very clean campaign and we never accused anyone of anything. At the end of the day, we knew that it’s our people who make the decisions. Like I said from the beginning, one thing’s for sure is that we work hard even at my age and the governor’s health for that matter,” Torres said. “He’s done a tremendous job the past 20 months. He’s addressed a lot of issues.”
The 35-year-old lawmaker also said the GOP team’s success in the polls could partly be a result of young voters flocking in large numbers to have their voices heard through the ballot box.
“With regards to my age, it shows that our young voters went out to vote. I continue to emphasize that and ask that we don’t use age anymore. More so we should encourage and embrace the youth. When the time comes, step up and allow them, give them the opportunity to grow. Every teenager, every young voter, should be allowed to get experience. I hope running as a lieutenant governor is an opportunity to show the youth that the community can embrace you despite your age.”