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Six candidates flexing muscles for CNMI congressional delegate seat

 

Gregorio Kilili Sablan

By Bryan Manabat


Saipan-- The race for the CNMI congressional seat is starting to heat up, with six candidates expressing interest in the position following Democratic Rep. Gregorio Kilili Sablan's recent announcement that he is not seeking a ninth term.


House Floor Leader Edwin Propst, business consultant and grants writer John Oliver Bolis Gonzales, former Commonwealth Ports Authority Board Chair Kimberlyn King-Hinds of Tinian, Saipan Sen. Edith Deleon Guerrero, former Judge Juan Tudela Lizama and Rep. Thomas John Manglona are all aiming at the delegate seat.


Ed Propst

On Feb. 6, Propst, who is serving his fifth term in the CNMI legislature, officially announced that he is running for the delegate seat as a Democrat.


Gonzales has yet to make an official announcement but has built a network of political supporters pushing for his candidacy. Gonzales finished third in the CNMI’s first delegate election in 2008, a nine-way race won by Kilili.


King-Hinds, a private attorney, will officially announce her candidacy on Feb. 29.


Kimberly King-Hinds

The local GOP has announced that the deadline for those interested in running as the Republican candidate for the office of the CNMI delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives is March 15.

 

If two or more persons express intent to run under the GOP, a primary will be held before the November general elections.


Deleon Guerrero, who recently announced she would leave the Democratic Party, has put out a feeler about running for the delegate seat this year but has not made a final decision.

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Lizama was among the nine candidates who ran against Kilili in the 2008 race, in which he placed fourth. Lizama said he would make a final decision after consulting with his family.


Manglona, a first-time elected official, is also considering running under the GOP for the delegate position.


Sablan, 68, a former CNMI House member and election commission executive director, was elected delegate in 2008 as an independent candidate. He was reelected in the seven subsequent races. He ran unopposed in 2016, 2020 and 2022. Sablan has been caucusing with the U.S. Democrats, but it was only in 2022 that he ran as a Democrat.



 

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