Delegate Donna M. Christensen’s gubernatorial campaign on Tuesday issued a sharply worded statement that her running mate, Basil Ottley, is eligible to be a candidate for lieutenant governor.
The statement issued by the Christensen-Ottley campaign did not specify where or from whom the rumor that he wasn’t eligible originated. The campaign’s response suggests that rumor was based on the years Ottley, a former V.I. senator, spent in Washington, D.C., as the principal V.I. official in the U.S. Interior Department’s Office of Insular Affairs.
Any talk that Ottley is not eligible is "frivolous," the campaign said. The statement issued Tuesday made the following points:
– Ottley meets the residency/domicile residency requirements set out in Section 11 of the 1954 Revised Organic Act;
– Ottley has been eligible to vote in the last five years in the U.S. Virgin Islands and, in fact, has voted in a primary or general election or both every election year since 2008;
– Since first registering to vote in the U.S. Virgin Islands in 1984, Ottley has never voted or registered to vote anywhere else except the U.S. Virgin Islands;
– Ottley has owned and maintained his family home in St. Thomas for more than five years throughout that period. His home has not been rented out and has been available for his use, and has been used, throughout the period;
– Ottley meets every relevant definition of what constitutes a resident of the U.S. Virgin Islands including that set out in 18 VIC 262, which deals with “residence defined” for a registered voter;
– Ottley has been employed in a public service position with the Department of Interior for the last five years.
Tuesday’s press release added that, by law, if anyone was going to challenge Ottley’s eligibility, it should have happened within the five days after the filing of nomination papers.