Barshinger wins Democratic Senate At-large nomination
Published: September 10, 2012
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ST. CROIX - Incumbent Craig Barshinger was the top vote-getter in Saturday's primary among a field of four seeking the Democratic nomination for V.I. Senator At-large.
Barshinger expressed gratitude to the people of the territory and said he believes the primary win is an "affirmation" of the way in which he and his staff have provided service to the territory.
"I believe that they're telling us we're on the right track when we say that transparency is no longer a buzzword, but a necessity," he said.
Barshinger said he hopes to work with party leaders to draft a platform to address the most pressing issues in the territory, including the high cost of energy and the crime problem.
Barshinger faced off in the Democratic primary against three other St. John residents.
At the end of tallying electronic results on Saturday night, he held a wide lead against his challengers.
Unofficial results from electronic voting Saturday night gave Barshinger 2,154 votes, or 40.95 percent of the votes cast for that seat.
His closest challenger, former Department of Licensing and Consumer Affairs Commissioner Andrew Rutnik, earned 1,448 votes in electronic balloting, or 27.53 percent of the vote, with Ronnie Jones not far behind with 1,380 votes or 26.24 percent of the votes cast for the seat, according to unofficial tallies. Iris Kern won 272 electronic votes, or 5.17 percent of votes cast for the seat.
In the paper ballot count on St. Croix, Barshinger got 59 votes; Jones got 94; Rutnik got 33; and Kern received 19, officials said.
Paper ballots on St. Thomas were not counted Saturday night.
Rutnik, making his first run for elected public office, thanked his supporters on Sunday and congratulated Barshinger, Jones and Kern on their campaigns.
Rutnik said his campaign was based on the premise that Barshinger wasn't being effective enough and had isolated himself, in that Barshinger wasn't working with the majority or the minority in the 29th Legislature.
Rutnik said he hopes that message came through and that Barshinger, if he prevails in November, "gives that kind of service to the people who elected him. We need results."
Kern expressed surprise and then acceptance of the results on Saturday night.
"I think that's what people want," she said of Barshinger's win. "I think they'll get what they voted for, and I wish him well."
Kern and Rutnik left open the possibility that they may run for office again.
Jones did not respond to Daily News messages.
Barshinger will face Wilma Marsh Monsanto, a no-party candidate, in November.
- Contact Joy Blackburn at 714-9145 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.