DeJongh-Francis victory leaves rivals with uncertain futures


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ST. THOMAS — Gov. John deJongh Jr. and Lt. Gov. Gregory Francis handily took the Democratic ticket with 53 percent of the votes cast in the Primary Election on Saturday.
 
“I’d like to thank the Democratic party voters for the victory tonight and the support that they gave us,” deJongh said after his win Saturday night.
 
The incumbents defeated three other teams to win a spot on the General Election ballot Nov. 2. The other candidates in Democratic Primary were Adlah Donastorg Jr. and Samuel Baptiste; Gerard Luz James II and Glen Smith; and James O’Bryan Jr. and Pamela Richards-Samuel.
 
“It feels good to have the opportunity to get our message heard,” deJongh said. “I’m very proud that Greg and I were able to get through the clutter and the misinformation that’s been out there.”
 
DeJongh and Francis received 7,487 votes; the other three teams combined brought in 6,555 votes.
 
“The combination of their votes by no means comes close to what we achieved this evening,” deJongh said. “That feels very good.”
 
He said that he was proud that he and Francis ran a positive campaign and that he looks forward to campaigning for the General Election.
 
“The next step is just to continue to go out there and push our message, continue to address the issues,” he said.
 
The governor congratulated all the other Democrats who won in Saturday’s primary races and even those who were unsuccessful. He said it is important to participate in the democratic process, and he acknowledged the courage it takes to put oneself out there as a candidate.
 
“I’m glad to see that they were willing to do it,” he said.
 
Donastorg came in second with 4,300 votes, after a long campaign that began almost from the moment he was sworn into the 28th Legislature.
 
“First of all, I have to thank my supporters; I think they fought a good fight,” Donastorg said.
 
When asked whether he would support the Democratic ticket with deJongh and Francis — whom he has accused of trying to smear him — he paused and said: “I’m going on vacation.”
 
Donastorg’s loss means that he also is out of the Senate, where he has served seven terms. He ran as an independent for governor in 2006, but lost to deJongh in the General Election.
 
He told The Daily News that he has no plans to return to the Senate after this race and, in fact, will be getting out of politics.
 
“I’m still in the Senate until January, after that I’m going back into the private sector,” Donastorg said.
 
James, the only gubernatorial candidate from St. Croix, placed third place with 1,823 votes and expressed bitterness at that result
 
“The people of the Virgin Islands showed me today that they really and truly endure mistreatment, endure corruption, endure mismanagement, and they also endure maltreatment to each other,” James said.
 
“The only thing that I can see is continued destruction, and it’s sad, sad, sad,” he said.
 
He said he would not endorse deJongh as the Democratic nominee.
 
“Why should I endorse anyone when it shows me truly that the people don’t want to have anything that is right?” he said.
 
O’Bryan came in last with 432 votes.
 
“The people have spoken, I respect their wishes, and I will go forward with this episode from now on,” O’Bryan said.
 
He was noncommittal about supporting deJongh as the Democratic nominee.
 
“I’m going to listen to the rain tonight and think on it,” he said.
 
— Contact Aldeth Lewin at
774-8772 ext. 311 or e-mail alewin@dailynews.vi
 
 

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