By Mar-Vic Cagurangan
After retreating from the political limelight since losing her reelection bid in 2016, former Speaker Judi Won Pat is headed back to the campaign trail to run for the hotly contested delegate seat.
“I’m definitely running,” said Won Pat, the first Democrat to confirm her run for Congress. “I have been talking to Democratic Party leaders in the executive (branch) and the legislature but I am setting up my own team."
Sen. Telena Nelson has picked up a packet for the delegate seat but has yet to make a formal announcement about her political plan.
The incumbent delegate, Michael San Nicolas, has been reticent about his political intentions.
In what looked like a trial balloon, San Nicolas last year disclosed his desire to run for governor but has since been quiet about his next political move.
San Nicolas, who is facing an ethics investigation in Congress, is serving his second term in Congress.
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“His plans remain unclear. There is a possibility he might seek reelection for Congress. In which case, the Democratic Party’s primary for the delegate seat might be a three-way race,” a Democratic Party insider said.
San Nicolas’ Republican ally, Sen. James Moylan, has announced his run for the congressional race, expressing hope for an endorsement from the incumbent delegate.
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.
Won Pat, a seasoned politician, is the daughter of the late Antonio Borja Won Pat, Guam’s first delegate to Congress, where he served from 1973 to 1985.
Judi Won Pat served as a nine-term senator from 1994 to 2017 and held the speaker position from 2009 to 2017.
On Nov. 8, 2016, Guam voters pulled a surprise, launching a purge of old-timers amid growing community activism against unpopular legislative decisions. They dislodged seven incumbents— including Won Pat who landed on the 20th spot — in a stinging rebuke of the 34th Legislature. Their seats were taken by political newcomers.