THE gubernatorial team of Senators Eddie Calvo and his running mate Ray Tenorio won the Republican Party’s primary on Saturday edging their chief rival, the ticket of Lt. Governor Mike Cruz and Sen. Jim Espaldon, with a margin of 2,763 votes.
Republican gubernatorial candidate Sen. Eddie Calvo, right, and his running mate, Sen. Ray Tenorio, left, are joined by Sen. Jim Espaldon, shortly after he and Lt. Mike Cruz, not in photo, publicly announced they have conceded. The Cruz-Espaldon ticket was defeated in last Saturday’s Guam primary by 2,763 votes. Photo by Gemma Q. Casas
Cruz and Espaldon conceded even before the Guam Election Commission had counted all the votes cast in Guam’s more than 50 precincts after the tabulation showed a wide margin between their votes past 1:30 a.m. Sunday.
The Calvo-Tenorio ticket got a total of 9,221 votes or 58.78 percent while the Cruz-Espaldon team had 6,458 or 41.17 percent. Seven votes were counted as write-in.
The total votes cast for the GOP gubernatorial candidates was 15,686 out of the more than 50,000 who registered to participate in the Nov. 2 general elections, leaving many to speculate a significant number of Democrats did not join the primary.
The figure is also one of the lowest turnouts in Guam’s political history.
The winning GOP ticket is scheduled to be sworn in tomorrow at 4 p.m. by the members of the GEC board.
An undetermined number of ballots were considered “crossover votes” with many making a mistake of crossing party lines between the GOP and the Democrats.
Resolution ballots were also encountered at the counting held at the University of Guam Fieldhouse.
Unopposed, Guam Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo, who is seeking re-election, got 7,633 votes or 98.77 percent as the rest are considered write-ins. Bordallo is under the Democratic Party.
Call for Unity
Cruz and Espaldon thanked their supporters for rallying behind their candidacy and promised to toss their support to the Calvo-Tenorio team.
Espaldon personally went to their GOP rival’s campaign headquarters shortly after Cruz conceded.
He came with his wife, Gilda, their family members and other staunch supporters.
Loyal supporters of the Calvo-Tenorio team cheered Espaldon as he made his surprise appearance to the camp.
At 1:45 Sunday morning, when Cruz and Espaldon conceded the primary election race, Cruz said it was clear, “the people have spoken.”
Calvo described Cruz as an honorable man and expressed thanks for his gesture.
“I and Ray consider the people of Guam one of the most resilient people in the planet. We’ve gone through so much within the past two decades. Now is the time for our people to reap the rewards and it would be an honor for the Calvo-Tenorio administration to serve our people- we can do that,” he said.
“We signed a unity agreement. Mike’s an honorable man. Jimmy’s an honorable man. They have good people with them and we look forward to coming together and then from there, reaching out to the people of Guam,” he added.
The senator appears undeterred facing the Democratic Party’s standard bearer, former Governor Carl T.C. Gutierrez, who served for a term of eight years.
Gutierrez’s running mate is Sen. Frank Aguon Jr.
Calvo described the coming election as challenging but the GOP has a big chance to win.
“I think it’s very clear. When you see the number of votes for Ray and I and the number of votes that went for Mike and Jimmy, there is a statement there. That governor Gutierrez had his eight years. And there are a lot of folks on this island who want to see something different, something new. And I feel good about that,” Calvo told the Variety.
Espaldon, who delivered a brief speech before a cheering crowd, said they have accepted the fact that the people of Guam have spoken.
“In any election, this is really about the will of the people and after a certain point, the ballots being counted, Mike and I being realists and being very practical, we know that the people have spoken and they have spoken to choose Eddie Calvo and Ray Tenorio to go on to the general election, to win Adelup,” he said.
Espaldon said that there were some “rogue people in both camps” who played some dirty politics but made it clear they were not part of it.
“We know there were probably some rogue people in both camps. We were not involved with that. I can assure you that Mike and I were never involved with anything like that, because we told each other from the start that this was going to be a clean campaign. We all realized we’re all on the same team and just wondering which team was going to advance and take on Carl Gutierrez and beat him,” he said.
Thirty of the 38 candidates for the senatorial race made it during the primary.
Both the GOP and the Democratic Party fielded 19 candidates for the legislative race and each was left with 15 who will be competing with each other during the general elections.
The 15 Democrats up for election are: Speaker Judy Won Pat; incumbent Senator Tina Muna-Barnes; incumbent Senator Rory Respicio; incumbent Tom Ada; Corinna Gutierrez-Ludwig; Vice Speaker B.J. Cruz; incumbent Senator Ben Pangelinan; Dennis Rodriguez, Jr.; incumbent Senator Adolpho Palacios; Joe S. San Agustin; Sarah Thomas-Nededog; Steve Dierking; Trini Torres; and Jonathan Diaz.
Candidates Phillipe Cruz, Jonathan Carriaga, Tomas Fejeran, and Robert “Rumbo” Benavente did not make it.
The 15 who made it to the GOP list are: Senator Tony Ada; Senator Frank Blas, Jr.; Dr. Aline Yamashita; Mana Silva Taijeron; Chris Duenas; incumbent Senator Telo Taitague; Douglas Moylan; Ray Haddock; Sam Mabini; Stephen Guerrero; Vic Gaza; John B. Benavente; William Taitague; William Sarmiento; and Dr. Velma Harper.
Their fellow GOP candidates Dennis Borja, Paul Reyes, Margarita Taitano and Armando Dominguez didn’t make it.