Independent John Gonzales is the first candidate to officially file his nominating petition of candidacy at the Commonwealth Election Commission on Saipan. Gonzales, surrounded by family and supporters, officially entered the race for NMI delegate on Monday.

“[This is a] movement of people over politics because nothing else matters. After the election, we must roll up our sleeves and do the people’s work, because the people are tired of suffering,” he said.

Gonzales originally ran under the Republican Party but pulled out days before their party primary over a disagreement about it being a closed primary and questions of neutrality of party officials.

There are at least three more candidates in the delegate race: Democrat House lawmaker Ed Propst, republican and attorney Kimberlyn King-Hinds, and Independent community activist Liana Hofschneider.

Candidates can officially file to enter the race starting July 8. August 7 is the last day to submit nominating petitions and candidacy. This year, all eyes are on the delegate seat after 8-term Congressman Gregorio Sablan announced he’s not seeking re-election.

The Commonwealth Election Commissioner also announced that they will be holding a voter registration drive and accepting nominating petitions of candidacy at the Rota Man Amko Center and Tinian Public Library from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on July 8 and 9.

You can watch Gonzales’ full candidacy filing and remarks on KUAM’s YouTube Channel.