Guam – While many political pundits are expecting a low voter turnout both the Republican and Democratic parties believe otherwise.
PNC spoke with Republican Party Chairman Mike Benito and Democratic Party Executive Director Carlo Branch about why they think people will come out to vote and why they think this primary election is important.
The primaries are meant for the parties to allow them to whittle down their candidates but with only 15 Democrats and 16 Republicans running for senator some believe that there may be a low voter turnout in this election. We’re only gonna drop one obviously but I still think there’s gonna be a pretty good turnout in this election obviously there’s good races on both sides of the fence you know in the Democratic side obviously the congresswoman was very popular she’s running against Carlo Dizon so I’m sure that’s gonna bring out a lot of people but even on the Republican side there’s a number of big narrow races in Tamuning, Mongmong, Toto, Maite where we have a number of candidates there as well and we’re optimistic that there’s gonna be a good turnout,” said Benito.
Democratic Executive Director Carlo Branch is also optimistic that there’s going to be a good turnout but particularly optimistic that the turnout will be on his side. “People like to go where the race is and the race right now other than the auditor race is the Madeleine Bordallo Carlo Dizon race so with Republicans pretty much having nothing to vote fore except for a few mayoral races I think you’ll see a high turnout on the Democratic side,” said Branch.
Aside from deciding between Karlo Dizon and Madeleine Bordallo who will advance to the general and aside from deciding certain mayoral races it also allows each party to sort of gauge where their respective senatorial candidates rank. However, Benito believes that the primary numbers especially for the Republican party won’t necessarily match general election numbers because voters aren’t allowed to crossover and the Democrats have more registered voters and a big primary race for congress. “Yeah it’s nice to see where our candidates rank but I think that I don’t think it’s really gonna gauge who’s gonna win the overall election,” said Benito.
It will also allow Republicans to eliminate one of their candidates for senator but why even have a senatorial race for the Democrat side with only 15 running? “It’s a good test run to make sure that things are working in the right places we have people in all the right villages all the leaders are communicating together it gives us time to hone our message so that senators don’t have to worry about maintaining or jockeying for position but at least knowing that the only number that’s going to count is the one going into the general election,” said Branch.
Benito and Branch both say that senators who find themselves in the bottom five often end up working harder going into the general election and those in the top can sometimes end up becoming complacent