Nov. 5, 2002 – St. Croix voters said on Tuesday that they are ready for three new faces to represent them in the 25th Legislature.
Incumbent Sen. Douglas Canton Jr., for the second election in a row, drew the most votes of any candidate in the St. Croix district — 6,459. Canton ran on the Democratic Party ticket and in the primary last September came in a close second behind fellow Democrat Luther Renee.
Those rankings were reversed on Tuesday, as Renee came in No. 2 with 6,401 votes. The next seven finishers in the field of 19 were:
Incumbent Norman Jn Baptiste (independent) — 6,183.
Incumbent David Jones (Democrat) — 6,039.
Ronald E. Russell (Democrat) — 5,819.
Incumbent Emmett Hansen II (independent) — 5,422.
Raymond "Usie" Richards (ICM) — 5,378.
Incumbent Adelbert M. Bryan (ICM) — 5,248.
Juan Figueroa-Serville (Democrat) — 5,003.
The top seven vote getters will be elected, but the final standings won't be known until absentee ballots are tallied. According to elections officials, a total of 1,274 absentee ballots have been mailed out. They must be received back by Nov. 15 for the votes to count.
Jn Baptiste ran this year as an independent after dropping his former affiliation with the Democratic Party in order to join the unaligned majority early on in the 24th Legislature.
Another former Democrat who abandoned the party to join the majority caucus during the 24th Legislature is Hansen, who slipped from coming in second behind Canton in 2000 to sixth place this time. But Hansen said he has no regrets about leaving the party midway through the first year of his freshman Senate term.
"I did what I had to do my first term," he said Tuesday night. "It's been hard." But Tuesday's victory, he said, "is even sweeter than the first one."
"I think it's obvious by now that my allegiance is not to artificial symbols," Hansen said. "It looks like there's a changing of the guard going on, and I see more people coming in looking to do things for their constituents."
He said the makeup of the new Senate will be "interesting." Only four of the 24th Legislature's nine majority-bloc senators finished in the top seven of their respective district races on Tuesday, although as many as three of them might shift back into the winners' circle with absentee votes. The only one that might do so on St. Croix, however, is Bryan, who on Tuesday came in eighth behind his own staff member Richards.
A fifth majority member in the current Legislature, at-large Sen. Almando "Rocky" Liburd, who also is the current Senate president, may face a runoff against challenger Craig Barshinger.
St. Croix lost two incumbents because they ran for other positions — Vargrave Richards as running mate to Gov. Charles W. Turnbull, and Alicia "Chucky" Hansen as a candidate for governor, herself. The Turnbull-Richards team finished first in Tuesday's gubernatorial voting, and Hansen and her running mate, Eddie Donoghue, came in third.
Molly Morris contributed to this report.
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