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Divided voters choose 8 delegates, 3 superdelegates

HAGATNA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, May 4, 2008) – Guam residents yesterday turned out in large numbers to have a say in who will be chosen for the U.S. Democratic Party's presidential nomination.

The Democratic caucus held yesterday will decide the party's chairman and vice chairman which, in turn, could have an impact in which Democratic candidate -- Sen. Hillary Clinton or Sen. Barack Obama -- will be chosen by the party as its contender to face off against Republican Sen. John McCain. The chairman and vice chairman will represent Guam as superdelegates at the Democratic National Convention, with a full vote for the party's presidential nominee.

Guam will have three other superdelegates: Committee Woman Taling Taitano, who said she's committed to Clinton; Delegate Madeleine Bordallo, who is undeclared; and the committee man position, which will be filled by appointment. Both candidates up for consideration, Sen. Benjamin Cruz and attorney Mike Phillips, are Obama supporters.

In addition, the eight delegates elected yesterday will each have a half vote at the convention.

"I think the media coverage on the national scale is really making some folks want to participate, Greg Schacher, Dededo Precinct chairman said. "Especially the younger crowd."


A line of Dededo residents, ready to cast their vote, stretched nearly the entire length of the village's old police/fire building.

Self-proclaimed "Democrat for a day" Janet Aguon, who voted for Pilar Lujan as party chairwoman, said her pick was Obama.

"I can't see myself supporting Hillary," she said. "My reason is that she was out here in 1995 -- President Clinton in '98 -- and they both made promises that they didn't act on. She dares to make those same promises and comes back to us asking us for support. I think that's unconscionable."

She said her support for Obama was based on her belief that he understands islanders -- and minorities -- due to his growing up in Hawaii, though she ultimately supports Sen. John McCain, the Republican nominee.

Curtis Van De Veld, who was at the Agana Shopping Center -- which acted as voting station for residents of Hagåtña, Asan-Maina, Mongmong/Toto/Maite, Piti and Sinajana -- said his vote went to Clinton.

"I like Obama," he said. "I like his demeanor and the way in which he presents himself, but Sen. Clinton is the only one who talks about the issues."

He said Clinton's stance on Medicare and the military buildup solidified his decision, though he would support Obama in the overall election if he were nominated.

Van De Veld voted for Antonio Charfauros, current Democratic Party of Guam chairman, on grounds that he was the only one whose positions he knew about.

"It's better to dance with the devil you know than the one you don't," he said.

In Yona, a lone Obama supporter, Tommy Shimizu, sat outside the village mayor's office, voluntarily passing out information on his favorite presidential hopeful -- whom he said represented the change that the nation needs -- to a slow stream of voters.

He said he was proud to be a resident of Yona where, hours earlier, a line of voters had gathered to make their voices heard in what he called "a big step for Guam."

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