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Steps down as Democratic Party chair
FORMER Gov. Carl Gutierrez, a write-in candidate for Public Auditor, yesterday stepped down as chairman of the Democratic Party of Guam to pave the way for discussions of more important issues related to the tasks of the Office of Public Accountability, according to Carlo Branch, the party’s executive director.
Gutierrez’s resignation came on the heels of Public Auditor Doris Flores Brooks' statement that OPA, a non-partisan office, would be exposed to politicization if her challenger would remain the head of his party while running his campaign.
Branch said Gutierrez “adamantly believes” that quitting as party chair was not a requirement for a write-in candidate, “but he wanted to end the red herring and smokescreen debate and begin the real conversation as to how we, as a community, can make the Office of Public Accountability relevant and accountable to the people of Guam.”
Gloria Nelson, vice chair of the Democratic Party, now assumes the party leadership as interim chair, Branch said.
In a press statement issued Sunday, Brooks – a former Republican senator – cited the OPA enabling act, which states, “No candidate for the position of Public Auditor shall declare a political party affiliation.”
But Branch called Brooks’ statement into question, recalling that she attended the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia in 2000 when she was running for Public Auditor.
Gutierrez and Brooks first faced off during the 1994 elections, in which she ran for lieutenant governor with gubernatorial candidate Tommy Tanaka. Gutierrez won the race with his lieutenant governor, Madeleine Bordallo, and got re-elected for another term.
In the September primary, Gutierrez is required to obtain 4 percent of the ballots cast to be able to advance to the November general election.