Democrats set deadline for those wanting to run for Adelup - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Democrats set deadline for those wanting to run for Adelup

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by Ken Quintanilla

Guam - It's been two weeks since the Democratic Party of Guam nominated former governor Carl Gutierrez and Senator Frank Aguon Jr. as its gubernatorial team for this year's election. As you recall, that eventually fell through as Aguon declined the nomination. And the party has since made a callout and set a deadline for any potential candidate to step up.

It's no secret former Gutierrez's name has been swirling for months - some would say years - to run as the party's ticket for this year's gubernatorial election. In fact, the party nominated Gutierrez along with Aguon earlier this month to run as the party's ticket. That eventually fell through. During Thursday's Central Executive Committee meeting, it was noted by party chairman Rory Respicio that Gutierrez however has expressed interest but has yet to secure a running mate. From there, a motion was made to give Gutierrez until February 5 to make up his mind on whether he would run and it not the party would move on to other potentialities.

CEC member Mark Charfauros, himself a former senator, said, "You've got individuals that want to participate that want to campaign but they're on hold because for one reason or another they may want to say, 'If Carl's running, okay let's do it, let's organize', but if he's not running then we need to have a fair chance in wining this election. So come February 5, if he doesn't want to give us an answer and then July he decides to run then he decides to run."

During the meeting, party members noted it wasn't just late, but extremely late in terms of having a candidate secured for Adelup. Others however found the motion offensive and inappropriate even adding that former governor Ricky Bordallo hadn't even announced his candidacy until April of that election year.

And while it was stated that Gutierrez has been telling people he's running for governor for the past year and a half, former party executive director Carlo Branch noted no official announcement has ever been publicly made even officially to the CEC. "The media is here and we don't want to create the perception that none of us are talking to each other," Respicio warned, with Branch adding, "Mr. Chairman, if we set a date that's exactly what we are saying: we are not close enough to call each other."

Vice Speaker B.J. Cruz questioned why it even had to be Gutierrez or just one particular candidate. He inferred the CEC was meddling, saying, "Those of you that want to run start your campaigns out there individually that's how it's always been done over the last 40 years. It is never been the CEC who determined who it was - if the CEC we could have four different camps in there - be the grassroots and start it up that way, but you don't come in here and you tell someone you have until the 5th in which to tell them me whether you're going to it or not because I'm not going to do it otherwise. If you want to run, then run!"

The motion was eventually amended to put out an appeal to anyone interested in running for governor to state your intention and make it very clear by February 5. From there the CEC would determine its next step during its meeting scheduled for the following day.

"I want to address the implications that the party is meddling with the upcoming 2014 election," said Respicio. "What I think the party is doing is trying to prevent us from having  to be in this situation after the July 1 deadline is occurred and there is no team running under the Democratic Party of Guam, so if there were some gubernatorial team right now it could be anybody it could be the same individual we want to show deference to. You all know about past elections by around this time you certainly have someone out there that's even though they haven't picked up a petition at the Guam Election Commission you know through the grassroots effort that this team is running. Can you honestly sit there and say although you've heard Governor Gutierrez that he's always running for something or he'll die, could you honestly say he has a running mate to date?"

The motion was eventually amended to put out an appeal to anyone interested in running for governor to state their intention and make it very clear by February 5. From there the CEC would determine its next step during its meeting scheduled for the following day. It was passed, but the vote was not unanimous.

After the vote vice chairwoman Dr. Nerissa Underwood explained the rationale behind the motion and clarified that it's not mean to essentially force someone into corner. She stated, "It's somewhat demoralizing for our fellow Democrats when to this date when they see everyday that there is news about what the other party is doing, they're already out there in the villages, and to this date there's still asking us do you have a candidate? So that was the basis for that was really so we can then move forward - not to put a gun over anyone's head to have a sense of direction of where we are going to be going and who have interest."

Meanwhile it was noted that the party should also focus its efforts in recruiting candidates for the Guam Legislature as well as one CEC member stated that some currently serving have decided not to run anymore. However while there's been no official declaration, it was noted that former senators Adolpho Palacios and Dr. Judi Guthertz along with Robert Paulino were interested in running.

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