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House special election set for March 23; Marco Peter seeks GOP nomination

THE special election for the vacant  Precinct 3  House seat will be held on March 23, Saturday, Gov. Ralph DLG Torres has announced.

The seat became vacant following the death of Republican Rep. Frank Dela Cruz on Jan. 6.

Businessman Marco Taisacan Peter is the second individual to seek the GOP nomination for the House seat. He announced on Tuesday his intent to run.

Peter, 46, is the son of the late cannabis advocate David Peter and former Rep. Malua Peter. His wife is a relative of Dela Cruz.

On Monday, Grace Sablan-Vaiagae, a certified drug and alcohol counselor for the Department of Public Safety,  announced her intent to run in the special election as a Republican candidate.

Sablan-Vaiagae graduated in 2003 from the University of Guam with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. She obtained her master’s degree in counseling in 2013.

Marco T. Peter studied at the University of Oregon and resided on the mainland U.S. before returning to Saipan in 2015. He runs a retail and wholesale business.

Among his supporters are the well-known members of the Precinct 3 Carolinian community, including former Gov. Benigno R. Fitial and former Rep. Ray Tebuteb.

Marco Peter, 2nd left, poses with former Gov. Benigno Fitial, former first lady Josie Fitial, Peter’s mother, former Rep. Malua Peter, Rep. Joe Itibus, former Rep. Cinta Kaipat, and other Carolinian women supporters.  Photo by Cherrie Anne E. VillahermosaMarco Peter, 2nd left, poses with former Gov. Benigno Fitial, former first lady Josie Fitial, Peter’s mother, former Rep. Malua Peter, Rep. Joe Itibus, former Rep. Cinta Kaipat, and other Carolinian women supporters. Photo by Cherrie Anne E. Villahermosa

In an interview, Marco Peter said he has been campaigning for two weeks now, “going house to house.”

“We are ready to rock,” he said. “I would like to thank all the people that showed their support today and to the entire Carolinian family.”

He added, “If I could only turn the time, I wish Uncle Frank were here. God bless his soul. My wife’s dad is uncle Frank’s dad’s first cousin. We’ve been running a quiet campaign and we will continue to do it that way. We will not be loud but we will continue to do what we’ve been doing. I will continue to give back to the community in the best way I can, and I will be the voice that they need.”

Peter said some community members wanted him to run in the November elections, but he decided to campaign for Dela Cruz instead.

“Some of the houses that I visited back then are no longer there, so I feel the need to help rebuild the community. I feel the people’s need. We don’t have enough carpenters on island. I’ve been volunteering during Typhoon Yutu and there are so many other things that we can do.”

Peter said he will also focus on youth center projects.

“The kids were displaced after the disaster. They don’t have homes anymore and they don’t have a place to go. So we can start by implementing youth programs and we should also create new business opportunities for our people,” Peter added.

Special election timeline

Jan. 23, 2019    

First day for request for absentee ballots

Jan. 23, 2019    

First day for submission of nominating petition and candidacy documents

Feb. 8, 2019     

Last day for submission of nominating petitions and candidacy documents

Feb. 20, 2019   

Last day for election commission’s action on nominating petitions and candidacy documents

Feb. 26, 2019   

Last day for application for absentee voting

March 8, 2019  

Designation of polling places by the commission

March 16, 2019

Posting/distribution of specimen ballots

March 16, 2019

Early voting commences

March 22, 2019

Last day for Early Voting

March 23, 2019

Election Day

April 7, 2019             

Removal of all campaign materials

May 12, 2019   

Campaign financial disclosure reports due