Tony Babauta Announces Candidacy For Guam Delegate

Ex-Insular Affairs chief to challenge incumbent Bordallo (D)

By Shawn Raymundo

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, May 18, 2016) – After weeks of rumors being spread that Tony Babauta plans to challenge Madeleine Bordallo for the Guam delegate seat in the upcoming primary election, the former federal official announced plans Wednesday to explore a run in the race.

Babauta, the former assistant secretary of the Interior for Insular Affairs, stopped by the Guam Election Commission office in Hagåtña on Wednesday to pick up a candidate packet, marking his “first step to explore running.”

“I’m both excited and motivated to be exploring a candidacy for Guam’s delegate to Congress,” Babauta said in a press release. “During my career as a public servant, I’ve always felt humbled by the support given to me from the people of Guam. Now, it’s time for me to give back.”

Babauta said he is no stranger to federal government work, having first spent 12 years working under former Guam Del. Robert Underwood. He then served as senior adviser to the secretary of the Interior Department before he became assistant secretary.

“I believe I have always been a strong voice and advocate for Guam in our nation’s Capital,” he said in the release.

Babauta resigned from the assistant secretary position in January 2013.

The following year, the Department of the Interior’s Office of Inspector General released a report that found he had made inappropriate comments toward women in the workplace, accepted favors from subordinates and took questionable trips while in office, news files state. Employee complaints regarding Babauta’s behavior prompted the investigation, which was later expanded to examine his travel records and the grants he approved.

Babauta who previously worked under Bordallo, a seven-term incumbent, said he recently met with her to discuss his intentions of running in the election and being her opponent for the Democratic ticket in this year’s General Election.

“A little more than a week ago, I met privately with our island’s current delegate, a longtime friend and one of my many mentors,” Babauta said. “I expressed my decision to explore running for delegate is to give our people a choice in the upcoming primary and in consideration of Guam’s future. She was both cordial and graceful of my decision.”

Following Babauta’s announcement, Bordallo’s office released a statement in which the congresswoman expressed disappointment that he would choose to run against her. But, she added, she looks forward to a spirited campaign.

“I have always supported his aspirations and given him guidance and counsel” based on her overall experience in public office, she said in the release.

“As Tony’s biggest advocate to become the Assistant Secretary for Insular Areas and someone who supported him through the good and difficult times in that position, I am disappointed by Tony’s decision to potentially run against me this election.”

“I look forward to a spirited campaign where I can highlight my record of service and achievements for the people of Guam as well as my vision for Guam’s future,” she added. “I have been blessed with the opportunity to serve our community throughout my life, and I hope the people of Guam will continue to place their faith in me, just as they have done throughout my 40 years of service to them.”

Babauta said he would work over the next few weeks to get his candidacy paperwork complete so he can submit it back to the election commission before the June 28 filing deadline.

The race for the delegate position will now see competition in both the Republican and Democratic parties, as former Gov. Felix Camacho and Margaret Metcalfe, the 2014 delegate hopeful, contend for the GOP ticket this September.

Pacific Daily News
Copyright © 2016 Guam Pacific Daily News. All Rights Reserved

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