BREAKING NEWS: Gordon Ackley Will Win GOP Caucus Without Opposition

BREAKING NEWS: Gordon Ackley Will Win GOP Caucus Without Opposition

The longstanding intra-party fight for the leadership of the V.I. Republican Party was settled this week without a contested election.

St. Thomas businessman Gordon Ackley will assume the chairmanship after John Canegata failed to file by the March 22 deadline, the Virgin Islands Free Press has learned exclusively.

Canegata, who won the party chairmanship in 2012 after defeating the now-deceased Herb Schoenbohm in the August primary election, had been expelled from the Republican National Committee at the 2020 Republican National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Back in January, when RNC lawyers from Washington first announced the caucus to reorganize the defunct party, he had been expected to campaign for the position, which was to be elected along with the territorial party’s national committeeman, national committeewoman, and 20 members of the State (Territorial) Committee. However, Ackley outmaneuvered him and quickly assembled a full slate of 23 candidates, including himself. Canegata was unable to find sufficient support to run for reelection.

Ackley made rebuilding the V.I. GOP into a real political party that would challenge majority Democrats a central plank of his campaign.

While Ackley is without an opponent, National Committeeman Jevon O.A. Williams, of St. Croix, faces John Clendenin, also of St. Croix.

Meanwhile, Ackley-endorsed candidate Antoinette Gumbs Hecht, of St. Thomas, is being challenged by St. Thomas real estate agent April Newland for the vacant national committeewoman slot. Like Canegata, long-time National Committeewoman and former St. Croix territorial Sen. Lilliana Belardo de O’Neal also failed to file for the caucus.

The RNC will go ahead with the caucus, despite Canegata not running.

Polls will be open March 29 from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Company House Hotel on St. Croix, Bluebeard’s Castle on St. Thomas and American Legion Post 131 on St. John.

All registered Republicans are eligible to cast a ballot. No absentee voting is allowed.