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Canegata Says Republican Party Nominees Will Not Go Through V.I. Elections System

john canegater

CHRISTIANSTED — Republican party nominees for federal and territorial offices will be selected at a territorial convention on June 11, according to state GOP chairman John Canegata.

The decision to opt-out of the taxpayer-funded primary election was made during a special meeting of the Republican Territorial Committee on Friday after the Joint Board of Elections informed the Republican Party of the Virgin Islands on Thursday that it was excluding party offices—state chairman, national committeewoman, national committeeman and members of the Territorial Committee—from the primary, Canegata said.

“Taxpayers shouldn’t fund primaries and party elections,” Canegata said in explaining the party’s decision. “Not only is the territorial convention the fairest way to select nominees, but it will also unify our party, both here and nationally, to defeat Democrats.”

And unlike the taxpayer-funded primary election, candidates at the territorial convention won’t pay a fee or be forced to collect hundreds of petition signatures—requirements that protect incumbents but dissuade challengers, he said.

“It’s an open process,” Canegata said. “The Republican Party welcomes those who share our principles and our belief that Virgin Islanders deserve a choice at the ballot box.”

Meanwhile another faction of the Virgin Islands GOP said that they will go to court if needed to stop Canegata from bypassing the V.I. Elections System for its territorial primary elections.

“One should carefully check and see if the Republican party ever voted to approve this method for 2016,” GOP member Herbert L. Schoenbohm said. “The V.I. Code is ambiguous and not definitive on the method. One part says the parties will do it and another part says the primary in August is the sole method. Check with Senate President Neville James as he said that the old style method must be used until the election laws are revamped.”

Virgin Islanders interested in seeking the Republican nomination or election to party office at the convention should contact Canegata for more information on becoming a candidate.

Further convention details will be announced at a later date, he said.

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