GUAM DEMOCRATS SEEKING SEAT IN WASHINGTON, D.C.

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By Steve Limtiaco and Theresa Merto

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (June 1, 2001 - Pacific Daily News)---The 2002 elections became more focused yesterday; with two Democrats announcing they will run for congressional delegate.

Lt. Gov. Madeleine Bordallo made her announcement during a birthday fund-raising event at the Guam Marriott Resort, noting her candidacy was one of the "worst-kept secrets" on island.

"Tonight, I ask for your help again, as I declare my candidacy for the office of delegate to Congress," Bordallo said.

Earlier yesterday, Sen. Judith Won Pat, D-Inarajan, told the Pacific Daily News after the legislative session that she plans to run for delegate.

"I’ve always thought about running for this position," Won Pat said. "It has been, of course, a goal of mine I’ve set for some time."

Bordallo also announced that Democratic Delegate Robert Underwood will not seek another term as congressman and that she believes he will instead run for governor.

Underwood has not made any announcements about his political plans.

Bordallo said she considered leaving politics, but said politics and helping people have been in her blood for too many years. She said she considered running for governor, but said her friend, first lady Geri Gutierrez, and Underwood, likely will be gubernatorial candidates.

"To me, Geri and Robert are family, and I’m not going to challenge family," Bordallo said.

The governor addressed the crowd at Bordallo’s party last night, lending his support to her candidacy.

"With your presence there, I know we are finally going to make it big in Washington, D.C.," the governor said.

Democratic Party Chairman Joe T. San Agustin said Bordallo will be a strong candidate.

"She’s considered one of the front-runners," he said. "She’s a formidable candidate. She’s done well on Guam, and she just wants to continue that."

Won Pat said that she has spoken to the lieutenant governor about running for the delegate position.

"We both feel, of course, that it would be best not to have to run against each other, but the lieutenant governor has been a really good sport about this. Competition has always been very healthy," Won Pat said.

"I think what makes any campaign exciting and a challenge is when you do have somebody else that is running against you. It just somehow makes you a better candidate... it keeps you on your toes. I’m really excited about it – I’m looking forward to it."

Won Pat said she plans to follow in the footsteps of her late father, Congressman Antonio B. Won Pat. He was the island's first delegate to Congress, serving six terms.

"My (legislative) campaign... was passing the torch and following my father’s tradition," Won Pat said. "This will be the most opportune time for me to run."

Won Pat, who is serving in the 26th Guam Legislature, said she has been thinking about running for the delegate seat for the past 10 years.

"It’s more like a soft announcement, as opposed to the sense that I am not having a big party to announce it, and that’s because I have so many things on my plate right now," Won Pat said.

Republican Party Chairman David Sablan said Sen. Joseph Ada, R-Tamuning, is considering running for delegate.

Sablan said his name also is being mentioned as a possible candidate.

"There is no one definitely running, but Joe Ada is doing some exploratory on running for that office," Sablan said.

"I have a very good idea of what is needed for that office. I’m going to try to find a candidate that basically fits that bill," he said, adding that it is important for a delegate to be able to work with lawmakers from both political parties.

Race for Governor

The 2002 gubernatorial race will be wide open, as Gov. Carl Gutierrez is in the middle of his second consecutive term and is ineligible for re-election as governor.

San Agustin said first lady Geri Gutierrez is the only Democrat who is clearly running for governor at this point.

Sablan said three Republican senators have stated their desire to run for governor: Sen. Eddie Calvo, R-Maite; Sen. Felix Camacho, R-Tamuning; and Speaker Tony Unpingco, R-Santa Rita.

No candidates have filed spending reports for the 2002 gubernatorial campaign, and campaign committees are not expected to register with the commission until January, when the Guam Election Commission makes packets available.

By law, campaigns are required to file spending reports with the commission as soon as they collect or spend $100,000.

For additional reports from the Pacific Daily News, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/Pacific Daily News (Guam).

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