Let the games commence!
Marianas Variety, Thursday, October 12, 2006
Babauta: GOP will regroup
By Gemma Q. Casas
Variety News Staff
FORMER Gov. Juan N. Babauta says the local Republican Party is now regrouping in preparation for the 2007 midterm elections.
Babauta said the current GOP chairman, his former Public Works Secretary Juan Reyes, is likely to step down and run for a seat in the House of Representatives.
“There will be some real reorganization in the Republican Party,” Babauta told Variety in a telephone interview. “I understand that…Reyes is considering running as a member of the House for Precinct 3.”
Babauta, who lost his re-election bid in 2005, said his political career is not over.
“I’m going to be active in the Republican Party — I owe it to the people,” he said.
The party suffered its worst defeat ever in 2005, losing control of the Senate for the first time since the CNMI was established in 1978.
The GOP also failed to win control of the House, which it dominated in the 1990s, and its gubernatorial ticket could only finish third in a four-way race.
Many Republicans blamed the disaster on the party leadership’s unprecedented decision not to hold a gubernatorial primary.
Because of the GOP’s failure to hold a primary, then-Rep. Heinz S. Hofschneider launched his candidacy as an Independent, winning on Saipan and losing by only 99 votes to the Covenant Party’s Benigno R. Fitial, himself a former Republican.
With Babauta’s loyalists apparently still running the GOP, it is now doubtful whether the factions of the once dominant party can reunite before the 2007 and 2009 elections.