Several local GOP lawmakers lost in their respective bids in last Tuesday’s election, with House Speaker Rafael S. Demapan being one of the party leaders who failed to keep their seats in the coming 21st CNMI Legislature.
The Republicans kept their majority hold in the House, however, winning 13 of the 20 seats; the rest of the members ran as independent bets, including four of the six new faces.
Demapan ran for re-election with Saipan and Northern Islands Legislative Delegation chair John Paul P. Sablan for the two seats in Precinct 2. The latter earned the second highest number of votes behind independent bet Tina Sablan.
Tina Sablan, a former lawmaker and one of Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan’s staff at the NMI Congressional Office, pulled off what could be considered a huge upset in when she topped Precinct 2 with of 629 votes.
J.P. Sablan was second with 550, while Demapan was 18 votes behind with 532.
Vice speaker Janet U. Maratita of Precinct 1 and Precinct 3’s Rep. Francisco S. Dela Cruz, who previously held the second highest position in the House during the 18th Legislature, are two names who could be potential candidates for the speakership race.
Maratita previously served in the 14th, 17th, and 18th Legislatures, while Dela Cruz was a member of the 15th to 18th, where he was the vice speaker, and 20th.
Floor leader Glenn L. Maratita lost his bid to represent Rota once more at the House, losing to Donald M. Manglona for the lone seat, with the latter garnering 765 votes against the 631 of the former.
Gregorio M. Sablan Jr. (Precinct 1), Alice S. Igitol (Precinct 4), and Francisco C. Aguon (Precinct 5) were the other incumbent GOP lawmakers who lost in their respective re-election bids.
Rep. Joseph P. Deleon Guerrero, who served from the 13th to 20th Legislature, failed in his bid to clinch a Senate seat, with Rep. Angel A. Demapan also losing in the race for the CNMI delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives.
Donald C. Barcinas, who left the Republican Party a few weeks before the elections to oppose Gov. Ralph DLG Torres’ decision to sign the bill legalizing marijuana use in the CNMI, lost his re-election in Precinct 3.
Joseph Leepan T. Guerrero (Precinct 1); Precinct 3’s Ivan A. Blanco, B.J. Attao, and Jose I. Itibus, and Lorenzo I. Deleon Guerrero of Precinct 5 were the other GOP bets that won their re-election.
They will be joining Janet Maratita, J.P. Sablan, Dela Cruz, the returning Roman C. Benavente (Precinct 1) and Ralph N. Yumul (Precinct 3), and newcomers Luis John DLG Castro (Precinct 1), Joel C. Camacho (Precinct 4), and Antonio SN Borja (Precinct 6) to form the GOP majority.
It is not at all bad news for the local GOP, with Senate President Arnold I. Palacios becoming the lieutenant governor-elect as the running mate of Gov. Ralph DLG Torres.
Rep. Edwin P. Aldan won in his bid to replace Tinian Mayor Joey Patrick San Nicolas after getting 879 votes against the 523 of Henry H. San Nicolas.
Rep. Vinnie F. Sablan will be moving to the Senate in the next Legislature after becoming the top vote getter in the race for the two seats in the Third Senatorial District. He had 6,076 votes.
Senate vice president Steve K. Mesngon decided not to seek re-election but ran as an independent bet for the Rota mayor post, where he finished third behind incumbent Efraim M. Atalig (576) and Julie Marie O. Manglona (487).