While Tina Sablan and company have worked overtime to attempt to frame the gubernatorial win by the Palacios-Apatang team as a win for her and Democrats, not only is this thoroughly insulting to the good lieutenant governor and mayor who won the election, it attempts to reframe reality. That reality is that she came out last in a three-way race, and by a large margin.
While she’s been able to manipulate various precincts to carry her into House seats, she has been soundly repudiated in her attempts to garner elected positions that require the majority of voters across the electorate. While she has pointed out that 9,022 voted against Gov. Torres in the election—the three-way race of which he handily won by close to a thousand-vote lead—she totally ignores that 10,616 voters voted against her. She suffers from a phenomenon commonly known as self-delusion…a failure to recognize reality. How she strategically interprets the actions of others and what motives she often applies to or accuses others of, she never applies to herself when she does the same thing (or worse). Sablan’s efforts to see a wedge driven into the heart of this community, to foment divisiveness, to inject deceit—no matter how well-spoken—has been soundly repudiated, yet again, by the good people of the CNMI. Once again the electorate has spoken loudly and clearly. Sablan’s politics of hollow words, baseless accusation, political targeting, perpetual political attack, and sowing divisiveness are not acceptable to the great majority of voters—over 70% or 10,000-plus out of 14,000 in fact. This is certainly a positive takeaway from this election.
I am incredibly proud to have worked for and with Gov. Torres. His accomplishments, from new parks, new programs, recovery from major disasters, to record federal funding for major projects, etc., are exceptional by any measure. I congratulate Lt. Gov. Palacios and Mayor Apatang. They are accomplished and intelligent individuals who have a history of leadership, know politics, and certainly don’t need any advice from me. I would simply say, watch your backs. To Tina and company, this is just another avenue to attempt to reframe the reality of their loss, turn your win into her win, and take advantage of a situation to build support for herself for future electoral office.
Personal political positioning and really nothing else, has been Sablan’s life’s work, and she’s proven that she will do whatever is necessary, no matter how underhanded, if she thinks it will benefit her. So just one piece of unsolicited advice and surely one that goes without saying in the case of Tina Sablan… watch your backs.
Peace, harmony, and all the best to Gov. Torres, governor-elect and lieutenant governor-elect Palacios and Apatang, and the people of the CNMI.
Robert Hunter is a former a former senior policy adviser to Gov. Ralph DLG Torres and former Department of Community and Cultural Affairs secretary.