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Charlotte Amalie
Monday, May 20, 2024


Nov. 30, 2001 — With a little less than a year to go before the November 2002 general election, the field of hopefuls for the governorship is fleshing out.
Former Lt. Gov. Kenneth Mapp announced his intention to run Thursday during an interview on a St. Thomas radio station. Mapp, who served with Gov. Roy Schneider from 1994 to 1998, has since earned his master's degree in public administration from the Harvard School of Government.
"There is no question," Mapp told listeners of WVWI Radio. "I have made a decision to seek the office of governor in the upcoming election."
Mapp, a registered Republican and St. Croix native, will likely run as an independent. He is the second candidate to throw a hat publicly into the ring. Last month, another St. Croix resident, Dr. Cora Christian, told the Source that she had decided to run for governor, also without any party affiliation.
An interesting turn of events may have forced a third candidate — St. Thomas businessman John de Jongh Jr. — to announce his gubernatorial plans before he wanted to.
On Monday, Gov. Charles W. Turnbull fired Police Chief Jose Garcia. Turnbull didn't give any reason for the ouster. But on Thursday, Garcia said he believed he was fired for meeting with de Jongh, the president of the St. Thomas-St. John Chamber of Commerce and a possible challenger to Turnbull.
De Jongh told Radio One that, as president of the chamber, he has met with Garcia on numerous occasions to discuss safety issues. Turnbull may have thought that Garcia, who supported Schneider, was positioning himself for a potential spot in the de Jongh camp.
But is de Jongh running? De Jongh would only say, "At the appropriate time I will go to the public for support."
De Jongh has told friends and supporters that he will seek the governorship with Paul Arnold of St. Croix as his running mate. Although de Jongh is a Democrat, there is speculation he would run as an independent to avoid a direct challenge to Turnbull in the primary.
Equally firmly on the fence, at least publicly, is St. Thomas businessman Michael Bornn, a former acting Tourism commissioner under Turnbull and a Republican. While Bornn didn't confirm outright that he would run, he hinted that he may enter the race sometime next year. He, too, has told friends that he plans to run for governor.
Mapp, Christian and Bornn have not publicly identified running mates. Turnbull's running mate in the '98 election, Lt. Gov. Gerard Luz James II, hasn't said whether he will bolt from the incumbent ticket and seek the top job himself. However, most political observers consider that a good possibility.
Other potential candidates include Dr. Olaf Hendricks of St. Croix and former Sen. Lloyd Williams of St. Thomas. Both are Democrats. And there is speculation in political circles that Sens. Celestino White and Adlah "Foncie" Donastorg of St. Thomas and Alicia "Chucky" Hansen of St. Croix may be considering a run for the top job. All three were elected to the Legislature as independents.

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