Aguon turns down nomination to run with Gutierrez - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Aguon turns down nomination to run with Gutierrez

by Krystal Paco

Guam - Thursday night KUAM News was first to break the news about the Democratic Party of Guam nominating former governor Carl Gutierrez and Senator Frank Aguon Jr. as its candidate team for the 2014 gubernatorial election. What looked like an apparent rematch of the 2010 election however was short lived, as less than 24 hours later since the announcement, one of the potential candidates had declined the offer.

Party chairman Rory Respicio says the party's nomination of Gutierrez and Aguon to run as the party's ticket in this year's gubernatorial election simply made sense. "The rationale behind this movement because if you take a look at the 2010 election season and how Gutierrez/Aguon came 487 votes shy and if not losing but not making it only because there's continues to be a dark cloud of election irregularities which you covered extensively. So that was the rationale behind providing for a rematch," he said.

This rematch however has to be put on hold as Aguon had informed Senator Respicio through an e-mail that he would decline the nomination. "The party recognizes Senator Aguon for what we are certain is very thorough and thoughtful deliberative process with his family," Respicio stated.

Aguon, it's worth noting, was not in attendance at Thursday's Democratic Party meeting - and neither was Gutierrez. Respicio says attempts were made this morning to contact the former governor however a response had yet to be made, adding, "Our work continues on this campaign course, but really we are pleased with all the public's attention on this matter and it shows interest in the Democrat Party and emphasizes a hunger for change in the leadership at Adelup."

Respicio says given Aguon's decision, it's obvious that the whole nomination of this re-matched ticket is moot. News of a Gutierrez/Aguon team in the past 24 hours no doubt sparked discussion throughout the community. As you recall, Gutierrez and Aguon filed a legal challenge asking the court to deem the results of the 2010 election null and void based on alleged multiple discrepancies. Aguon eventually wanted out of the case and wanted to be removed from any association or affiliation with any ongoing court challenge. Gutierrez forged ahead, saying he had been abandoned by his running mate and was prepared to go to trial.

He eventually dropped the case because he had run out of money.

Respicio meanwhile says he's not disappointed that Aguon declined the party's nomination, saying, "We're going to certainly remain optimistic and there's no disappointment on my part as party chairman, this is just the process that anyone and any political organization has to go through to show deference and respect to those that we believe would have made a very good team for 2014. There were other combinations, other pairings other people have expressed interest over the several months, over the last year but what it comes down to is the election is in November."

Respicio would not confirm what other pairings the party had in mind, only saying the party namely the central executive committee is still empowered and will stay the course of finding a new team should no other ticket from the party come forward. "But again as soon something occurs, we'll certainly remain excited and remain focus and we'll be able to navigate through this," he said.

Aguon wrote in a statement, "I want to express my gratitude and respect to Senator Tom Ada and the Democratic Party of Guam on my gubernatorial nomination along with Governor Carl and First Lady Geri Gutierrez. The confidence in endorsing Governor Gutierrez and I for the 2014 Gubernatorial Election is both overwhelming and humbling. My wife, children, and I were unprepared for such an announcement as were the people of Guam. Undertaking a run for the Office of Governor and Lt. Governor requires much consideration, planning and support--none of which we have adequately prepared for.

Under these circumstances and in all integrity I join my wife, my children, and my family in declining the honor of the nomination.  By declining the honor of this nomination, I wish to give the Democratic Party of Guam the opportunity to nominate another candidate without equivocation.

I must remain steadfast in my commitment to serve the people of Guam as senator. In so doing, I must first fulfill that promise before I embark on my endeavor of running for Governor of Guam."

Carl Gutierrez meanwhile has yet to respond to calls for comment.

As for the Republicans, Governor Eddie Calvo's deputy press secretary Phillip Leon Guerrero says the Calvo/Tenorio administration will continue pushing the task at hand in helping families and building a better future for Guam. "I just want to say thank you to Frank Aguon, Jr. because since the start of this administration he's been a really good colleagues to Governor Calvo and Lieutenant Governor Tenorio. All three of them served in the legislature together and when the governor and lieutenant governor took office we saw that Senator Aguon was really willing to work with the Administration on important issues for this island, including issues with our veterans and making sure we're assisting the Judiciary wherever we can."

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