Palacios defeats Torres in CNMI's gubernatorial runoff
By Pacific Island Times News Staff
Saipan--Lt. Gov. Arnold I. Palacios defeated Gov. Ralph Torres in a gubernatorial run-off held Friday.
Palacios and his running mate, Saipan Mayor David M. Apatang, secured a total of 7,077 or 54.05 percent of the votes. They are the first Independent candidates to head to Capital Hill.
The Republican team, Torres and his running mate, Senate Floor Leader Vinnie F. Sablan, received 6,017 or 45.95 percent.
Palacios and Torres fought it out in the runoff, which was called by the Commonwealth election Commission when none of the three candidates for governor received the majority vote required to win the race for the top political post on Nov. 8.
The Palacios-Apatang campaign was bolstered by support from the CNMI Democratic Party's team, Rep. Tina Sablan, and her running mate, Leila Staffler.
Sablan and Staffler, who ranked the lowest in the general elections, endorsed Palacios and Apatang.
The CNMI Constitution states that, “If no candidates receive more than one-half of the total votes cast and counted for the offices of the governor and lieutenant governor, on the fourteenth day thereafter, a runoff election shall be held between the candidates for governor and the lieutenant governor receiving the highest and second highest number of votes cast and counted for those offices.”