The 2022 political campaign season took a step forward on Tuesday with the arrival of the Election System of the Virgin Islands’ filing deadline for candidates. By 5 p.m. on May 17 there were six hopefuls for the governor’s race, three for the at-large seat in the Legislature, and one unopposed bid for delegate to Congress.
Thirty-five candidates filed papers to have their names appear on primary and General Election ballots in district races for the 35th Legislature with 14 in the district of St. Thomas-St. John and 21 on St. Croix. Fourteen candidates from the two districts put their names up for seats on the Board of Elections. Nine declared their intent to seek seats on the Board of Education.
Candidates from all three recognized political parties in the Virgin Islands – Democrats, Republicans and the Independent Citizens Movement – filed papers to run for offices within their respective parties. Party positions appearing on the 2022 ballots include state chair, district chair, and seats on the territorial committees.
Virgin Islands Delegate to Congress Stacey Plaskett was the lone candidate filing papers to represent the territory on Capitol Hill. Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. and Lt. Gov. Tregenza Roach filed as incumbents in a re-election bid. They face challenges by the teams of Senators Kurt Vialet and Janelle Sarauw, former Sen. Stephen “Smokey” Frett running with Gregory Miller Jr., Kent Bernier running with former Sen. Oakland Benta, the team of Ronald Pickard and Elroy Turnbull, and Andrew Marrero, who filed for the governor’s race without naming a running mate.
Deputy Elections Supervisor Terrell Alexandre said the filings will be reviewed and if any discrepancies are found, the candidate will be issued a Notice of Defect. The candidate will then have three business days to correct the error or they will be disqualified.
Alexandre also acknowledged the absence of filings for candidates to the Sixth Constitutional Convention. A slate of candidates is supposed to be presented to the voters as part of the Nov. 8 General Election, he said, but preparations for that vote can only be made after the 34th Legislature Committee of the Whole approves a bill establishing the sixth convention.
“That bill has not passed the Legislature yet,” he said on Wednesday. “The Committee of the Whole has not met yet. We had a proposed calendar for the Constitutional Convention that was supposed to start today.”
The Election System deputy also noted that the number of candidates vying for legislative seats was relatively low. In some years up to 30 candidates would have filed papers by the deadline, he said. But because there are more candidates running than there are available seats to fill, the slates for each district will appear before the voters in the Aug. 6 primary election.
Once that process is completed, the top vote-getters will have their names included in the General Election ballot.
Those who wish to view the list of candidates for the races up for grabs in this election cycle can visit the Election System of the Virgin Islands website at the Source here or at vivote.gov/elections.