Marianas Variety Guam Edition – The Local and Regional Newspaper

12 23Sun10262014

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Dems search for candidate in island tour

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WHILE the Republican Party's political muscles are flexed for this year’s gubernatorial election, the Democratic Party is also getting ready to win the race against time.

With only six months left before the primary election, the Guam Democrats have been in a lethargic mood. No Democratic candidates for governor and lieutenant governor have yet emerged to challenge incumbent Gov. Eddie Calvo and Lt. Gov. Ray Tenorio, who are likely to run uncontested in the Republican primary.

Taking a new approach, the Democratic Party will embark on island tours in a search for candidates to form the gubernatorial team.

"As we have reported to our party members and the public, we are going through a grassroots process to determine a gubernatorial team," said Sen. Rory Respicio, chairman of the Democratic Party of Guam.

This first meeting will be held in Agat on Thursday.

From there, he said, the search teams will "proceed to other homes throughout our island. This will be called our listening tour."

"We are responding to this heightened interest and hunger for change in the leadership at Adelup," the party chairman said.

Respicio said the party "will leave it to our grassroots to offer suggestions on who should run for governor and lieutenant governor, and also listen to how their lives have not improved under the Calvo administration."

The Democratic Party's Central Executive Committee last month attempted to reconcile former Gov. Carl Gutierrez and Sen. Frank Aguon to form its gubernatorial team.

Aguon quickly declined the nomination while Gutierrez has yet to make a public statement. The two teamed up for the 2010 gubernatorial race but had a falling out when Aguon dropped from a lawsuit that sought to challenge the election results, leaving Gutierrez fighting alone.

No interest

University of Guam President Robert Underwood's name occasionally comes up, but the former Guam delegate has made himself scarce in the political scene.

Sources claimed the party tried to court either Vice Speaker Benjamin Cruz or Sen. Ben Pangelinan to run with Gutierrez, but neither of the two senators has any interest.

The Calvo-Tenorio team – facing no formidable challenger at this time – has been hitting the campaign trails on weekends since launching the kickoff political rally in Malojloj and Inarajan last month.

Amid the struggle to revitalize the Democratic Party, Respicio is crossing his fingers.

He expressed confidence the party will eventually build a gubernatorial team and fill its senatorial slate "at the end of this grassroots process."

"Our approach to the 2014 gubernatorial election is to remain united, and make room for disaffected Republicans and independents," he added. "We are doing the best we can to keep up with the 2014 election season, and to keep our message of the need to dismantle this concentration of power throughout our island, and the climate of fear experienced throughout the business community and among the rank-and-file government of Guam employees," he said.

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