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SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, Nov. 5) – The Republican Party is poised to regain control of the House of Representatives in the Northern Marianas for the first time since 2001, with 11 of its candidates leading in 20 races based on Saturday’s unofficial and partial election results.

The GOP may also win an additional Saipan House seat once the absentee ballots are tabulated on Nov. 17.

The Saipan Senate seat as well as six House seats on island will be decided by absentee ballots.

Incumbent Sen. Luis P. Crisostimo, who ran as an Independent, had a 44-vote lead over the GOP’s Andrew S. Salas.

Saipan has 866 absentee voters.

Gregorio C. Sablan, executive director of the Commonwealth Election Commission, said only 10,605 voters, or 69 percent of the total 15,184 CNMI registered voters, cast their ballots — the lowest in 10 years.

On Saipan, 8,734 voters cast their ballots; on Rota, 980; and on Tinian, 887.

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