GOP board endorses candidates for 2022 gubernatorial election
Gov. Ralph DLG Torres announced yesterday afternoon at his home in As Teo Senate floor leader Vinnie Vinson Flores Sablan (R-Saipan) as his running mate for the November 2022 gubernatorial election.
In presenting Sablan as his running mate, Torres described the senator as a “man of integrity, a man with compassion, a man with wisdom, and a man who knows how to fight for the right things.”
“It is my greatest honor and privilege to call my friend, Senate floor leader. We share the same passion for his people,” Torres said.
He said he needs all people’s support in this journey. “I hope and I’m asking for your vote of confidence to vote for me again for your governor in 2022,” said Torres, drawing cheers from supporters.
CNMI Republican Party board president James Ada also announced on stage that they have decided to endorse Torres and Sablan as their official candidates for governor and lieutenant governor, respectively.
Torres and Sablan, who were joined by their family members and supporters, also unveiled on stage their campaign slogan: “Together, Stronger.”
Many people, including Cabinet members and Republican lawmakers, attended the event where lively music, food, drinks, and beverages were served.
Rota Mayor Efraim M. Atalig and Tinian Mayor Edwin Aldan were at the gathering. Also seen were known Democratic Party supporters Ambrosio Ogumoro, Juan Tenorio (former representative), Sid Kani, and Pete Pangelinan.
In a later interview, Torres said he and Sablan share a similar journey, going from the House of Representatives and on to the Senate.
He said the senator loves his people, is compassionate, and that they always respect each other. “He cares for our people. He wants to give opportunity for the young generation,” the governor said.
Torres believes his and Sablan’s personality and their family background are the same. “That’s why I’m confident that this team is the right team moving forward in this journey for 2022,” Torres added.
The governor said they had actually planned to make the announcement on his 42nd birthday last Aug. 6, but because of the unfortunate passing of representative Ivan James Alafanso Blanco, they decided it wasn’t the right time to do it.
“It was more important for us to honor his service on the day of my birthday,” said Torres, referring to Blanco, who used to serve as his press secretary before becoming a lawmaker.
Torres deferred to Republican Party board president James Ada to respond when he was asked what would happen if Lt. Gov. Arnold I. Palacios, who is also a Republican, will also run as governor.
Sablan, 43, said it’s been seven years of his journey of public service and that it’s been a great ride. “There’s no feeling that gives us most honor than for people to have faith in us and trust us and have confidence in us,” Sablan said.
The Senate floor leader said he decided to join the governor to continue the good work that he’s been doing and to work on improving any other parts of the CNMI society that need improvement.
“Every day has [to be] better than yesterday and I think if we start for that, we can improve the quality of life of our people,” said Sablan, pointing out that his goal is to continue pubic service on another level, platform, and stage.
Sablan, who was previously an independent candidate, was recently accepted to become a member of the Republican Party, which is the longest serving party in the CNMI.
Aside from being the Senate floor leader, Sablan chairs the Saipan and Northern Islands Legislative Delegation. He has previously served for two terms as House representative of Precinct 4.
Separately, Ada said in an interview that the GOP board—which consists of five members—has already unanimously endorsed the re-election bid of Torres and his partnership with Sablan.
“So they are the official candidates for the Republican Party,” said Ada, adding that they made the decision yesterday.
As to the question what if Palacios will run as governor, Ada said their bylaw states that if the incumbent governor runs for re-election, they have to respect the party’s bylaws. This means that if Palacios wants to run for governor, he has to do it either as an independent candidate or move to another party.