Elections may be over, but on Guam — as in any place where politics is a favorite reality show — there is no such thing as off-election season. Every election cycle is a preparation for the next — a repositioning of sort for career politicians and an image-building platform for uninitiated political aspirants.
The most recent race for Congress has again proved Madeleine Bordallo remains the star of the show. Nevertheless, her Republican challenger former Gov. Felix Camacho, who was aware of her unbeatable factor, proved to be a formidable opponent. He drew numbers that gave a self-validation that he still has it despite his long absence from the political scene. The Nov. 8 election was a good dress rehearsal for him.
When, or if, Congresswoman Bordallo’s term enters its season finale in 2018, former Speaker Judi Won Pat is likely to enter the scene. She has two years to rebuild her shattered political fortress, aware of the hard work ahead. “I never thought I had it in the bag,” she said. “I’ve never been complacent; no politician is complacent when running for a public office.”
The gubernatorial scene will have more dramatis personae in 2018. On the Republican side, Lt. Gov. Ray Tenorio has always been touted as Gov. Eddie Calvo’s heir apparent, with Sen. Jim Espaldon by his side.
The Democratic camp has always been more animated and compelling to watch. Unlike in 2014 when the Democratic Party had to scour the entire island in search of a willing candidate, 2018 would likely be crowded — with four recurring names that have already emerged.
Sen. Frank Aguon passed up on the speakership to prep up for a bigger plan, bolstered by his performance in the last election where he topped the senatorial race. Former Gov. Carl Gutierrez, of course, is a political mainstay, like the Chamorro red rice in every fiesta spread. Bank of Guam president Lou Leon Guerrero, who has been discreetly flexing muscles, is ripe for a big comeback. Speaker BJ Cruz, though seemingly a reluctant gubernatoriable, completes the all-star cast.
The dynamics of scouting a running mate add another interesting layer to the entire process. Picking the right sidekick is crucial to team branding. Among those on the lineup are Sen. Dennis Rodriguez, who is likely to bring a solid Dededo vote); Sen. Mike San Nicolas, who is building a fan base among the grassroots; Justice Phil Carbullido, who, according to a source may retire from the bench in 2018; Josh Tenorio, who according to a source has chosen Leon Guerrero over Aguon; and Tony Babauta, who sought to reacquaint himself with Guam voters through his infamous decision to challenge his mentor.
Elections are over, campaign season begins.
(Email Mar-Vic at firstname.lastname@example.org)