Democratic Party not making endorsement in congressional runoff; Castro backs Underwood
Sarah Thomas Nededog
With two Democrats facing off in a runoff election for the congressional seat, the Democratic Party of Guam is not making an official endorsement. It encourages the general public to "go out and vote for the congressional candidate who can best represent Guam in Congress."
Incumbent Delegate Michael San Nicolas and former congressman Robert Underwood advanced to the general elections as result of the cancellation of the August primary, in which the Democrats would have selected their official nominee.
San Nicolas and Underwood challenged each other along with Republican Sen. Wil Castro, thus turning the congressional election into a three-way race.
Although he led the Nov. 3 election, San Nicolas obtained only 45.95 percent of the votes cast, which did not meet the majority vote (50 percent plus one) required by law to win the seat, hence the runoff election set for Nov, 17.
“Democrats recognize that both congressional candidates running under the Democratic Party’s banner will represent another election victory for not only Guam Democrats but Democrats throughout our nation as we have seen with the recent U,S. elections," said Democratic Party chairperson Sarah Thomas Nededog.
"Indeed, there are stark differences between these two congressional candidates, so we are encouraging the Guam voters to vote for a congressional candidate who can best represent Guam in Congress,” she added.
Castro announced on his Facebook page his decision to vote for Underwood. In a one-on-one meeting Tuesday night with Castro, Underwood sat outside with the Republican congressional candidate at his home in Barrigada, where Castro informed Underwood of his decision.
“Thank you for the humble visit. A university president, and distinguished scholar, advocate and Guam delegate… to visit a village boy of modest means, the son of a retired customs officer. I am so thankful to God for the honor. You honored my parents’ home and family last night. Thank you, kind sir.” Castro wrote. “It was very classy of you, Saina. While I couldn’t endorse you on tv or otherwise, I committed my one vote to you as a private citizen.”
Underwood said he called on Castro to learn about his platform and his ideas. "He is clearly passionate about stronger regional partnerships and the need to explore unique ways to be of greater service to Guam veterans," Underwood said of Castro.
"I am committed to seeing these initiatives implemented if elected.” “I want to thank him for his personal time gi kusinan san hiyong. He is a bright and engaging statesman whose energy and ideas should be harnessed for our island’s benefit.”
At Monday's virtual meeting, Guam Democrats agreed that party members are free to openly endorse the candidate of their choice.
Tony Benavente, a Democratic Party Leader from Hagåtña moved this motion and seconded by Rikki Orsini, a Democratic Party Leader from Barrigada.
Guam Democrats convened a special virtual meeting of the Central Executive Committee (CEC) on Tuesday evening to hear from its party leaders how best to proceed with the runoff election. Both candidates are running under the Democratic Party’s banner.
In attendance at this CEC virtual special meeting were the village representatives, the party’s officers, former Congressman Robert Underwood, and two campaign staffers from the Office of Congressman Michael San Nicolas, namely Jennifer Winn and T’Nelta Mori.
Meanwhile, the Fanohge Coalition will be holding one final event for the 2020 election season on Thursday, Nov. 12 (tune in to Facebook from 5:30 - 7 p..m) for a Community Conversation featuring the voices and visions for the future from different groups that make up the Fanohge Coalition.
The Fanohge Coalition said it does not endorse political candidates for public office, but does conduct outreach to remind the community about the importance of issues such as Chamoru self-determination and political status change.
For this event, members of the Fanohge Coalition will be able to speak to the community about the visions and missions of their groups and what they look for in their leaders. They may also share their thoughts and experiences working with the two candidates in the run-off, incumbent Michael San Nicolas and challenger Dr. Robert Underwood.