12 Mar 2018
- By Cherrie Anne E. Villahermosa – [email protected] – Variety News Staff
SENATE Vice President Steve Mesngon said he will run as an Independent candidate for Rota mayor because he has lost confidence in the leadership of the island’s Republican Party. But “in his heart,” he added, he will remain a GOP supporter.
“I can’t run under the party anymore because GOP Rota under the leadership of president Laura Manglona has given up on me. They did not accept me so why would I force myself on them?” he told Variety in an interview.
“That’s why when I read about the lt. governor telling [Variety] that I should run again for the Senate because I am the ‘priority,’ I found it very funny. How can he say that? I am the party’s priority? If that was true, then they could have responded to me a long time ago. They should not have kept me waiting for three months only to turn me down.”
He said the party denied his letter of intent to run on the GOP slate.
“To set the record straight, I submitted my letter of intent to run for Senator under the party in November of 2017. They did not respond to me until Feb. 18, telling me that we would have to do a primary because there were three other eligible candidates [for Rota’s two Senate seats]. Why would I be subjected to a primary when I am a sitting member of the party? I wrote them back and asked for more information. I wanted to know if these three other candidates were really true Republicans. I’ve been loyal to the party ever since I join the party. I only lost confidence in the party because of this issue. I raised this issue with GOP central, with the president James [Ada], I told them to look into this issue and to resolve this as soon as possible because something bad would happen if this issue was not resolved. For me, an incumbent member must be the priority, that is what the bylaws say.”
He said the Rota party through its president, Laura Manglona, responded on Feb. 23 and informed him that his letter of intent to run was rejected because he was not a loyal member of the party.
Manglona’s letter stated that the decision of the party not to accept Mesngon was based on the following: his soliciting signatures for his petition to run for mayor; dissemination of stickers endorsing his intent to run for mayor; and confirmation from many supporters of his announcement to run for mayor.
Rota’s incumbent Republican mayor, Efraim Atalig, is seeking re-election.
“It took them three months to act on my request, only to finally reject me,” Mesngon said. “Of course, I had to study my options. I could not wait for them to decide, that’s why I made a decision to seek another position and that was to run for mayor as an Independent candidate.”
He added, “I want to make it clear to the GOP. Remember when you asked me earlier if I would be running again for the Senate. I said that I could not answer that at the time. It was because they had not responded to my request yet. I didn’t want it out in the paper that I was seeking re-election when I was not yet an official candidate of the party. I waited for them to respond, but when I felt that I would not be getting any answer, that’s when I thought of running for mayor. I did not decide until three months later. I made my decision not to run for the Senate when they told me that we would hold a primary. I was very disappointed.”
Mesngon said he will be supporting fellow Independent candidate Albert Taitano who is running for the Senate on Rota.
Mesngon said he has also asked House Floor Leader Glenn Maratita and Sen. Teresita Santos, both Republicans, to join his team but he has yet to get their answer.
Source: Marianas Variety : http://www.mvariety.com/cnmi/cnmi-news/local/102821-mesngon-to-run-for-rota-mayor