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Election 2024 Nomination Deadline Spurs Intense Race: Incumbents, Former Officials, and New Hopefuls Vie for Office

Tuesday marked the official close of nomination petitions, revealing a heated race ahead with incumbents vying for reelection, former officials attempting comebacks, and a surge of new contenders, especially from St. Croix, eager to seize their chance at office.

The Elections System released the official list of candidates late Tuesday night, tallying 43 Senate hopefuls across two districts, three for Delegate to Congress, seven for seats on the Board of Education, and 14 for the Board of Elections. Additionally, 21 petitions were filed for Constitutional Convention delegates.

St. Thomas-St. John

In the Senate race, six incumbents have filed for reelection, joined by 11 challengers, including a few familiar faces, like St. Thomas-Water Island Administrator Avery Lewis. Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. announced in a press release Tuesday night that he had appointed Deputy Chief of Staff Kevin Rodriguez to serve in Lewis’ place temporarily, as candidates must take a leave of absence from government jobs upon filing their nomination petitions.

“Avery Lewis has served the St. Thomas/Water Island district with dedication and a deep commitment to our community. While he will be missed in his role, we fully support his decision to pursue a seat in the 36th legislature and wish him well in his future endeavors,” Bryan said in his statement.

Rodriguez, according to the Elections System, is running uncontested as the Democratic Party’s National Committee Man.

In the At-Large race, St. John Sen. Angel Bolques Jr. is aiming to reclaim his seat, facing a challenge from Senate hopeful Lorelei Monsanto. During a hearing Tuesday, Sen. Donna Frett-Gregory announced that she would not be seeking reelection.

Ida Smith has filed her candidacy for Delegate to Congress, and seven have submitted petitions for Constitutional Convention delegate. Within the party ranks, three candidates have filed for District Chair of the Democratic Party, five for the party’s Territorial District Committee, and eight for the Territorial Committee At-Large.

Stedmann Hodge Jr. is seeking to reclaim his position as the party’s State Chair, while Riise Richards has filed for National Committee Woman.

St. Croix

According to the listing sent by Elections Tuesday night, incumbent Sen. Javan James will not be returning to the race, though the remaining six sitting senators — Diane Capehart, Samuel Carrion, Novelle Francis, Kenneth Gittens, Marise James, and Franklin Johnson — are. Joining the race are former Senators Oakland Benta, who also ran for lieutenant governor in the last gubernatorial election, along with Norman Jn Baptiste, Nereida “Nellie” O’Reilly, Genevieve Whitaker, and Kurt Vialet. Additionally, 15 more petitions for Senate have been filed, with challengers including Jelani Ritter and attorney Russell Pate.

In the congressional race, Delegate Stacey E. Plaskett has filed her bid for reelection, challenged by former gubernatorial candidate Ronald Pickard. Fourteen candidates have filed petitions for Constitutional Convention delegate.

Eight candidates are vying for positions on the Board of Elections, three for the Board of Education, and within the Democratic Party, 10 have filed for a spot on the Territorial District Committee, along with two candidates for Territorial Committee At-Large. Carol Burke has filed her petition for State Chair of the Democratic Party, with Ophelia Williams Jackson running for District Chair.

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