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United States House of Representatives election in the Northern Mariana Islands, 2008


United States House of Representatives election in the Northern Mariana Islands, 2008

The new Delegate will represent the entire Commonwealth in a newly created At-large congressional district.
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
the Northern Mariana Islands

The United States House of Representatives election in the Northern Mariana Islands, 2008 took place on November 4, 2008 and was the Northern Mariana Islands' first election of a delegate to the United States House of Representatives.[1][2] Since the CNMI traditionally has general elections in odd-numbered years, the November 2008 ballot contained only this office.

The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands is the last United States jurisdiction to receive congressional respresentation in the United States House of Representatives (in the form of a non-voting delegate).[2]

The first Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands delegate in Congressional history, Gregorio Sablan, assumed office in January 2009.


  • Election background 1
  • Candidates 2
    • Democratic Party (endorsed candidate) 2.1
    • Independent candidates 2.2
    • Republican Party (endorsed candidate) 2.3
  • Results 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5

Election background

The Consolidated Natural Resources Act of 2008 allows the Northern Mariana Islands to elect its first Delegate in history to the United States House of Representatives and created a new Northern Mariana Islands' At-large congressional district.[2]

Under the 2008 law, the new CNMI delegate will be allowed to serve in United States Congressional committees within the House of Representatives and vote on proposed legislation on the committee level.[2] However, he or she will have limited powers and will not be permitted to vote on full legislation on the United States House floor.[2] The new delegate will receive all of the same allowances, benefits and compensation, including an approximately $170,000 a year salary, as a full member of the House of Representatives.[2]

The new legislation also federalized the islands' immigration and labor controls and policies.[2] The new provisions for United States government control over CNMI immigration policy were opposed by Governor Benigno Fitial, who filed a lawsuit in September 2008 the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to halt the takeover.[3] Fitial's suit contended that the immigration takeover by U.S. federal authorities, scheduled for mid-2009, would harm the economy of the Northern Mariana Islands by limiting the number of foreign aliens allowed to work in the territory.[3] The leadership of the Northern Mariana Islands Senate opposed Fitial's lawsuit against the United States government and voted to deny a requested $400,000 in funding for the legal action.[4]

However, though legal action was still pending at the time of the election, Governor Benigno Fitial encouraged all registered CNMI voters to cast their ballots for the new delegate on election day.[5]

The deadline for prospective candidates to file to run in the election was August 6, 2008.[1]

The historic first federal election did not attract as much attention, in terms of overall voter registration. Less than 13,000 people registered to vote in the lone Congressional election.[2] These voters represented just 1/4 of the total CMNI population.[2] This represents a 15 percent drop in the number of registered voters from the 2007 midterm legislative elections.[2]


  • Listed alphabetically by political party

To be eligible to run in the 2008 Congressional election, each candidate must be a United States citizen at least 25 years old, and must have resided in the Northern Mariana Islands for at least seven years before the election.[2] Candidates must also be registered CMNI voters on the day of the election (November 4, 2008) and may not be seeking any other elected office simultaneously.[2]

The field of nine candidates for the Congressional election consists of one Republican, one Democrat and seven independents.[1] The nine candidates represent a very diverse mix of professional backgrounds.[2]

Democratic Party (endorsed candidate)

Independent candidates

Republican Party (endorsed candidate)


Northern Mariana Islands' At-large congressional district election, 2008[6]
Party Candidate Votes %
Independent Gregorio Sablan 2,474 24.35%
Republican Pedro Tenorio 2,117 20.83%
Independent John Gonzales 1,855 18.26%
Independent Juan Lizama 1,819 17.90%
Independent Luis Crisostimo 946 9.31%
Democratic David Cing 307 3.02%
Independent Felipe Atalig 249 2.45%
Independent Chong Won 230 2.26%
Independent John Davis 164 1.61%
Invalid or blank votes %
Totals 10,161 100.00%
Voter turnout %
Independent win (new seat)


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Marianas to select US House delegate".  
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Donato, Agnes E. (2008-10-15). "Who, what, where when of historic delegate polls".  
  3. ^ a b "Governor Files Lawsuit Against U.S. Govt Over Federalization".  
  4. ^ "Senators Vote Down Governor's Request For Funding To Sue U.S".  
  5. ^ "CNMI elects first US Congress delegate".  
  6. ^ "2008 Election Results: Delegate, House of Representative, United States Congress". Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Election Commission. Retrieved 2008-11-19. 

External links

  • Pacific Magazine: Sablan's Lead Expected To Hold In U.S. Congress Race
  • Saipan Tribune: Election Primer: Who, what, where when of historic delegate polls
  • Saipan Tribune: Candidates quizzed at public forum
  • Forum puts delegate contenders in hot seat
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