Rota Dems back Palacios-Apatang

NMI Democratic Party chair Hix says party did not approve such endorsement

The Rota Democratic Party has officially endorsed the gubernatorial candidacy of Lt. Gov. Arnold I. Palacios and Saipan Mayor David M. Apatang, instead of getting behind the candidacy of the party’s standard bearer, Rep. Christina E. Sablan. NMI Democratic Party chair Nola K. Hix said yesterday that the party did not approve that Rota endorsement.

In a press release issued yesterday, the Palacios-Apatang camp said the Rota Democratic Party made the decision to endorse the candidacy of Palacios and Apatang as governor and lieutenant governor, respectively, during its meeting last Sunday.

Palacios and Apatang are running on an independent slate.


The press release includes a picture of Palacios and Apatang with some members of the Rota Democratic Party holding a banner that read: “Democrats for Palacios Apatang Rebuilding Trust 2022.”

Hix said yesterday, though, that the NMI Democratic Party is the political organization that officially nominates and certifies candidates for CNMI elections under the Democratic banner.

“The Democratic Party of the CNMI, as a political organization, has officially endorsed Representative Christina “Tina” Sablan as the party’s gubernatorial candidate for 2022,” Hix said.

The Palacios-Apatang press release states that Rota Democratic Party chair Norbert Mundo presided the well-attended meeting, which was held at the residence of Martin Atalig. Relevant party matters in the run up to the November 2022 general election were discussed at the meeting.

Palacios and Apatang arrived at the meeting and took the opportunity to listen to all the issues, challenges, and concerns raised.

Palacios and Apatang spoke at length of the people’s current plight, the need to rebuild trust in government and leadership, and shared their focus and commitment to improving the lives of all people in the CNMI.

According to the press release, each closed their address by asking for the support of the people of Rota and thanking them for graciously having the Palacios-Apatang team on the island.

Those in attendance at the meeting included Pedro Dela Cruz, Geraldine Dela Cruz, Aniceto Mundo, Joseph Apatang, Maria Apatang, Janet Mundo, William Taitano, Eleanor Taitano, Martin Atalig, Cindy Barcinas, and Robert Ulloa, among others.

In the NMI Democratic Party’s response to the Palacios-Apatang press release, Hix said the party did not approve nor release any photos, press releases, banners, or other materials depicting individual Democrats, former Democrats, or independents on Rota endorsing any other gubernatorial candidate.

Hix said they recognize that family ties play a crucial role in CNMI elections, and familial pressures can influence even close allies to switch political allegiances.

She said while they respect the political choices of all individuals, they also urge all political camps to ensure the transparency and accuracy of campaign information they disseminate.

Hix said the NMI Democratic Party remains committed to transparency and accuracy in all information they share that is critically important to the general well-being of the people of the Commonwealth.

“We will continue to carry out our campaign activities in accordance with this pledge. Trust can only be earned in this way,” she said.

Hix said that, as they look forward to the announcement of Sablan’s running mate later this month, they remind the people of the CNMI that, in the voting booth, “nobody knows where your pencil goes.”

She said with Sablan and her running mate, and all their Democratic candidates, good governance will be on the ballot this November.

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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