Palacios to run as governor


Lt. Gov. Arnold Indalecio Palacios confirmed yesterday that he will be running for governor with Saipan Mayor David M. Apatang as his running mate for the November 2022 election.

Palacios, a Republican, told the media that he and Apatang will be running “at this point” as an independent slate.

Palacios made the disclosure a day after Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan (Ind-MP) announced on social media and through a letter to the editor that he will be seeking re-election as a delegate.

“It is in Congress I can best serve to make the lives of people of the Northern Marianas better. That is the work I will continue to do for you if you so choose on election day next year,” said the 66-year-old Sablan.


He said the truth is that the CNMI’s problem is more than one corrupt individual. “We have allowed a culture of corruption to grow in our society, where many see what is happening, but too few are willing to say stop,” Sablan said. “Until more say basta (stop), the corruption will continue, no matter who is governor.”

Sablan became the CNMI’s first elected delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2008. He is currently serving his seventh term.

Sablan’s announcement Tuesday ended the Democratic Party’s hope to have him as their candidate for governor to challenge the candidacy of incumbent Gov. Ralph DLG Torres in next year’s election.

Palacios said yesterday that he and Apatang will officially announce their intent to run at a declaration ceremony at the Minachom Atdao today, Thursday, at 2:30pm.

Besides Palacios, so far it has only been incumbent Gov. Ralph DLG Torres who has already said he will run next year. His running mate is Sen. Vinnie Vinson Sablan (R-Saipan).


When asked why he decided to run against Torres, Palacios said there are “a lot of things wrong” in the Commonwealth. “There’s a crisis in our Commonwealth, a crisis of confidence in our government,” said Palacios during an interview with the media in the House of Representatives Speaker’s conference room shortly after the swearing in ceremony of Rep. Corina L. Magofna (D-Saipan).

Despite all the resources that have been made available to the CNMI, they still see people struggling, he added.

“I think Dave [Apatang] and I have the qualification and the acumen to make a huge difference in short order. It’s really about management and trust,” he said.

Palacios said he was very surprised at the overture of the Democratic Party when it announced to the public that they would welcome him, like any other persons interested to serve the people, if he submits a letter of intent to run under the Democratic Party. He said to be considered by the Democratic Party is something that he and Apatang have not sat down to talk about and discuss.

“But I want to say that we certainly appreciate the overture that the Democratic Party has made to us,” the 66-year-old Palacios said.

Palacios was elected lieutenant governor with Torres in 2018. Torres and Palacios began their terms in January 2019.

Palacios used to serve as a Saipan senator and became Speaker of the House’s 16th Legislature.

Some say that Palacios’ candidacy will split the votes of the Republicans as Torres is the titular head of GOP. This is being seen as beneficial to whoever is the Democratic Party’s candidate for governor and lieutenant governor.

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

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