By Mar-Vic Cagurangan
For nearly four decades, the Guam delegate seat in the U.S. Congress has been the Democratic Party’s turf, but Republican Sen. James Moylan expressed confidence on Thursday that the tide will turn in this year’s congressional race.
“Because I am Jim Moylan,” he said in a brief interview with reporters after officially filing his candidacy for the Guam delegate seat at the Guam Elections Commission.
“I'm looking forward to the excitement that this is going to bring for the island of Guam,” Moylan said. “I can definitely say that I'm ready for this opportunity and I want to take the challenge.”
The two-term Republican senator is the first congressional hopeful to make an official announcement about joining the race for the delegate seat. He is expected to run unopposed in the party’s primary.
During Moylan's filing of candidacy, the Republican Party arrived in full force. He was accompanied by prominent party members including former governors Eddie Calvo and Felix Camacho, who is seeking another term in Adelup.
The incumbent delegate, Congressman Michael San Nicolas— who is facing an investigation before the congressional ethics committee—has yet to make an official announcement about his political move but he previously disclosed his intention to run for governor and challenge Gov. Lou Guerrero in the Democratic Party's primary.
When asked if he would endorse Moylan’s candidacy, San Nicolas gave a vague response. “We have not since inception nearly 10 years ago endorsed any candidates but we have always encouraged the people to vote regardless of party based on the record,” he said.
Moylan said he had private discussions with San Nicolas about his intention to run for the congressional seat. The two are known to be close allies.
If San Nicolas later decides to seek another term in Congress, Moylan said he would move forward with his political plans just the same.
"Would I be willing to face off Congressman Mike San Nicolas if that was going to be his choice? During our conversation that was discussed and I leave it at that," Moylan said.
"We have a good working relationship and that will be up to the congressman to decide how he wishes to move forward. I totally have a wonderful working relationship with our congressman and I hope to continue that as well. There is no way this is going to be any kind of bad fight," he said.
Ben Garrido Blas was the only Republican to hold the Guam delegate seat. Succeeding Antonio Won Pat, Blas represented Guam in the U.S. Congress from 1985 to 1993.
Won Pat, a Democrat, was the first Guam delegate to the U.S. Congress, where he served from 1973 to 1985.
Robert Underwood held the seat from 1993 to 2003. He was followed by Madeleine Bordallo, who served multiple terms from 2003 until she was defeated by San Nicolas in the 2018 elections.
“Why I should be your next delegate? Well, there are two important reasons: I have the spirit and the ability,” Moylan said.
If elected, Moylan said he would continue San Nicolas' initiatives in Congress.
"I think we both represent the island truthfully well for the people of Guam," Moylan said. "If I'm going in that seat, I'm not going to ignore what he has done."
Moylan had a political rehearsal earlier this month during his three-day trip in Washington D.C., where he met with San Nicolas and other members of Congress.
"These congressmen were willing to open the door for us and talk to us to build a relationship," Moylan said. "I learned so much when I was there and I'm ready to tackle it."