Gubernatorial Challengers Pick Running Mates

Two gubernatorial challengers to incumbent Gov. John deJongh Jr. picked running mates in the past week as campaign activities begin to ramp up in advance of upcoming primary and general elections.
Though his candidacy was an open secret, Sen. Adlah "Foncie" Donastorg formally announced his candidacy and introduced his running mate, Samuel Baptiste, on Sunday evening at their campaign headquarters in Estate Princesse on St. Croix.
Born and raised on St. Thomas, Donastorg held several government positions prior to being elected to the V.I. Legislature in 1994. He has served seven non-consecutive terms as senator and was briefly president of the current, 28th Legislature, until his caucus voted to replace him in April 2009. Donastorg ran against deJongh in 2006, receiving 23 percent of the vote to deJongh’s 50 percent, in a three-way race that included Kenneth Mapp. DeJongh later won a runoff against Mapp.
Donastorg’s running mate Baptiste was employed for 10 years with Hovensa before resigning his position last week to officially join the Donastorg ticket, according to the campaign. Baptiste is well-known in the St. Croix business community and has owned and operated several enterprises on the big island. He spent 13 years in the military before working as assistant commissioner with the Department of Property and Procurement. He also collaborated with FEMA to oversee Hurricane Marilyn rebuild efforts, according to the campaign.
A St. Croix native, Baptiste holds masters’ in Business Administration and Public Administration. He is married to former V.I. Health Commissioner Darlene Carty-Baptiste and they have one daughter.
Thus far, Donastorg and deJongh are the only candidates running under the Democratic Party Label, so, unless another should appear, the first gubernatorial contest of the season will be the Democratic Party primary battle between Donastorg and deJongh set for September 11.
Independent Kenneth Mapp, deJongh’s runoff opponent in the 2006 election, is challenging deJongh again. During the administration of former Gov. Charles Turnbull, Mapp was chairman of the Public Finance Authority. He served as Gov. Roy L. Schneider’s lieutenant governor during Schneider’s one term in office. Born in Brooklyn and raised on St. Croix, Mapp has been a V.I. Police Officer and a senator along with his experience in the executive branch. In the 2006 runoff election, Mapp received 42.7 percent of the vote to deJongh’s 57.3 percent. Mapp won St. Croix by a comfortable margin, but was trounced by a more than two-to-one margin on St. Thomas.
Last week Mapp announced UVI Political Science Professor Malik Sekou will be his running mate. Sekou, 46, is a longtime professor and department chair at the University of the Virgin Islands in history, political and social sciences. He has been elected to the V.I. Board of Education and has writings and commentary spanning topics such as law enforcement and the justice system, cost of living in the territory, and labor and immigration issues. He was twice a candidate for the V.I. Senate and was a longtime legislative analyst and researcher at the V.I. Legislature.
Sen. Terrence "Positive" Nelson, a member of the Independent Citizens Movement political party, is also running for governor but has not yet announced his running mate.
In other election news, Delegate Donna Christensen formally announced Sunday she is running for another term in Congress. The multi-term congresswoman received 66 percent of the vote in 2006, while her nearest challenger; Warren Mosler, received 29 percent.

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