Published: October 30, 2012
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With only one week to go before voters head to the polls, the territory's political campaigns are in full swing with television ads, food sales, and community debates and forums.
More candidates are running for Senate than ever before, in part because of the high number of open seats and in part because many people feel the sitting senators are vulnerable.
In the last term of office, the Senate was subject to a scathing joint audit report from the federal and local Inspector Generals. The audit described "highly questionable practices" involving the management of public funds that resulted in more than $6.9 million of lost revenue, unnecessary expenses and unsupported costs.
While the report largely focused on the 28th Legislature - it did not look at the current 29th Legislature - a number of incumbents served in both. The widespread outcry from the public about the audit report, the subsequent criminal investigation and the senators' resistance to disclosing public documents have tainted the entire institution and left many voters looking for new ideas.
Additionally, the economic downturn, the closure of HOVENSA and the government's 8 percent pay cuts have left the territory desperate for real solutions.
Because of these issues and more, the ballot is full of candidates this year.
Thirty candidates are running for the seven St. Croix District Senate seats, and 35 people are running for the seven St. Thomas-St. John District seats.
The 30 candidates running on St. Croix include six of that district's sitting senators: Alicia Hansen, Neville James, Terrence Nelson, Nereida Rivera-O'Reilly, Ronald Russell and Sammuel Sanes.
Challengers are: Myron Allick, Luis Ayala Jr., Samuel Baptiste, Gwendolyn Brady, John Canegata, Diane Capehart, Carmen Cintron, Pedro Cruz, George Cyril Sr., Percival Edwards, Judi Fricks-Buckley, Norman George, Kenneth Gittens, Arthur Joseph, Naomi Joseph, Irving Julien, Eugene LaCorbiniere, Troy Mason, George Moore, Wayne Petersen, Jamila Russell, Michael Springer Jr., Jay Watson and Sherryann Wiltshire.
Long-time senator Usie Richards is not seeking re-election.
Of the 35 candidates in the St. Thomas-St. John Senate race, only two are incumbents: Shawn-Michael Malone and Janette Millin Young.
Regardless of the outcome, the 30th Legislature will be filled with new faces.
Earlier this political season, incumbents Carlton Dowe, Louis Hill, Richards, Celestino White Sr. and Alvin Williams Jr. announced they would not be seeking another term in office - leaving five open seats in the Senate.
In addition to those, Sen. Patrick Simeon Sprauve lost in the Democratic primary, resulting in six open spots for Senate hopefuls to fill.
The 33 other candidates running for Senate in the St. Thomas-St. John District are: Paul Alexander, Neville Amey, Kent Bernier Sr., Carol Berry, Marvin Blyden, Horace Brooks, Walter Brown, Kyza Callwood, Donald Cole, Elvin Fahie Sr., Alma Francis-Heyliger, Stephen Frett, Alan Friedman, Sean Georges, Clifford Graham, Joseph Gumbs, Charlesworth Halstead, Justin Harrigan Sr., Jodi Hodge, Myron Jackson, Josephine Lindquist, Cleone Marrishow, Cecilia Milliner-Emanuel, Omodoso Muhammad, Lawrence Olive, Clarence Payne, Tregenza Roach, Shirley Sadler, Janelle Sarauw, Andreas Tietje, Orial Webb, Lisa Williams and Louis Willis.
Senate At-large incumbent Craig Barshinger knocked out three competitors in the Democratic primary to take the nomination. Now he faces independent candidate Wilma Marsh-Monsanto on Nov. 6 in a fight for the only seat elected territorywide for the Senate.
The territory's only federal race has four challengers looking to unseat incumbent Donna Christensen as the territory's delegate to Congress.
Christensen is facing Guillaume Mimoun, Warren Mosler, Norma Pickard-Samuel and Holland Redfield II.
Since the 2010 election, the V.I. community has shown deep interest in the territory's Elections System, and that has resulted in a wider field of candidates to serve on each district's board of elections.
In the St. Thomas-St. John District 10 people are running for a spot on the board. The incumbents are Lawrence Boschulte and Alecia Wells, but former members Arturo Watlington Jr. and George Blackhall are looking to reclaim their seats. Newcomers running for the board are Jaquel Dawson, Lydia Hendricks, Ada Hodge, Diane Magras, Harriet Mercer and Jerry Meyers.
For the St. Croix District Board of Elections, the six candidates are: Lisa Harris-Moorhead, Epiphane Joseph, Roland Moolenaar, Lilliana Belardo de O'Neal, Krista Schluderman and Glenn Webster.
Voters also will choose members of the V.I. Board of Education in each district.
The only at-large candidate - who must be from St. John - is incumbent Oswin Sewer.
Eight people are running for the four St. Croix District seats on the board: Kasaun Baptiste, Winona Hendricks, Terrence Joseph, Cyril Levine, Mary Moorhead, Yvonne Petersen, Martial Webster Sr. and Jaynae Williams.
Seven are running for the four seats in the St. Thomas-St. John District: Vivicka Garfield, Judy Gomez, Arah Lockhart, Keith Richards, Maria Richardson, Nandi Sekou and Debra Smith-Watlington.
The General Election is Nov. 6, and polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.