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ST. CROIX SENATE RACE: How Your Favorite Candidates Stack Up Before Nov. 6 Election

CHRISTIANSTED — The first two top vote getters in the St. Croix Senate race will be two women who have never held elected office here before.

According to John Boyd’s polling of 306 people between September 15 and October 15, Allison DeGazon was in first place with 164 votes, 54 percent of the vote with a margin of error of 5.6 percent; Alicia Barnes was in second place with 153 votes, 50 percent of the vote and a 5.6 percent margin of error; incumbent former educator Kurt Vialet was in third place with 131 votes, 43 percent of the vote and a 5.5 percent margin of error; businessman Michael Springer was in fourth place with 109 votes, 36 percent of the vote and a 5.4 percent margin of error; incumbent former Territorial Police Chief Novelle Francis Jr, was in fifth place with 108 votes, 35 percent of the votes and a 5.3 percent margin of error; Kenneth Gittens was in sixth place with 98 votes, 32 percent of the vote and a 5.2 percent margin of error.

“DeGazon and Barnes are two lovely and popular women who have worked hard in party politics and government,” Boyd said. “They will bump, last election’s dynamic duo of Vialet and Francis down a notch or two. A probable reason is their votes on the sin tax and the tax targeting poorer seniors, veterans and homesteaders.”

For first, fourth and seventh places, Boyd said basically that DeGazon and Barnes are tied in their 1-2 positions; Springer and Francis are statistically-tied in their 4-5 positions and for seventh place — he found three people tied statistically for the seventh-place position on the ballot.

“In fourth place, Michael Springer is a popular businessman who has run for the Senate in the past,” he said. “After Hovensa shut down, he decided to invest in creating two popular & successful businesses (The Bungalow and Nikki’s Wings and things) in Christiansted when others were abandoning St. Croix. These successful operations seemed to have expanded his base of support.”

He said they were: Republican former Senator Lilliana Belardo de O’Neal with 83 votes, 27 percent of the vote and a 5.0 percent margin of error; newcomer Javan James with 79 votes, 26 percent of the vote and a 4.9 percent margin of error and former police officer Oakland Benta with 74 votes, 24 percent of the vote and a 4.8 percent margin of error.

“Gittens and Belardo de O’Neal are both former Senators with Gittens being the more recent one and thus a known entity,” Boyd said. “However, if Belardo is perceived as the only strong advocate for Hispanics with Hansen, O’Reilly and Sanes gone from the Senate, there could be a quiet army of support for her that I missed measuring. Benta is a popular former policeman and James is a young community activist.”


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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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