St. John Tradewinds News

Fourteen File for Ballot Spots in April 8 Special Election

ST. THOMAS — Officials at the Election Systems of the Virgin Islands say fourteen candidates applied for ballot spots Friday for a special election scheduled for April 8. The election is being held to fill a vacant seat in the 32nd Legislature.

Eight Democrats, four No Party, one Republican and one member of the Independent Citizens Movement filed petitions by the 5 pm Friday deadline.

The candidate who won the now vacant sixth seat district – Kevin Rodriquez — is not among the applicants. The person who challenged Rodriquez’s eligibility in court – Janelle Sarauw, is.

Sarauw challenged Rodriquez’s eligibility late in the game, one day before the election results were certified on Nov. 22. She placed eighth in the Nov. 8 general election, one position short of winning a seat.

Former Senator Justin Harrigan is also back in the running. Harrigan placed ninth in the general. Former Senators Patrick Simeon Sprauve and Steven Frett are also in for a bid in the special election, as are campaign perennials Gustave Dowling, Wilma Marsh-Monsanto. Marsh-Monsanto is a former elected member of the district elections board.

Former St. Thomas-Water Island Administrator Barbara Petersen entered her name as well.

Robert Schanfarber, a VI delegate to the 2016 Republican National Convention, signaled his intention to run for the vacant seat.

Darien Wheatley, O’Neal Moolenaar and Gilmore Estrill round out the field of Senate aspirants.

The special election was declared by Gov. Kenneth Mapp Feb. 7 after District Court Judge Curtis Gomez ruled on a challenge filed by Rodriquez against the 32nd Legislature and Senate President Myron Jackson.

Rodriquez asked the court to direct lawmakers to allow him to take the seat he won in the election. Gomez said it would be up to either the Senate or the executive branch to do so.

Jackson deferred to the governor.

Mapp declared a special election a few days shy of having the district seat vacant for 30 days, which by law would have opened the way for the governor to act.