A dozen potential candidates rushed to file their papers on Monday, but Tuesday's deadline is expected to see even more last-minute filers who will include former Del. Robert Underwood, one incumbent senator and mayoral challengers.

As of Monday, 86 filed their candidacy papers with the Guam Election Commission for the Aug. 29 primary elections.

One other filer was for the general election.

The surge in candidacy filings started only late last week. Each candidate and his companions are required to wear a mask when filing their papers with the GEC to comply with COVID-19 health guidelines.

Underwood said he will file his candidacy for congressional delegate at 10 a.m. Tuesday.

He is challenging incumbent Del. Michael San Nicolas in the Democratic primaries.

Underwood served as Guam's congressional delegate from 1993 to 2003, and served as the University of Guam president from 2008 to 2018.

"Some people asked me, 'Are you running for Congress to get your old job back?' I said no, I'm not running for Congress to get my old job back," he said via Facebook live on Saturday to gather petition signatures. "I'm running for Congress to transform that position, to transform that position to deal with what we have today, the issues that we have today, the quality of the representation now."

His campaign team issued a press release on Tuesday.

"We are facing major policy changes in health care, the economy and education as a result of the pandemic. We need to secure Guam’s presence in Washington by voting for a leader that is able to restore integrity and trust in DC, build consensus in Guam, and talks to you directly whether in Guam or Washington,” Underwood said in that statement.

On the Republican side, only Sen. Wil Castro has so far filed candidacy for congressional delegate.

No full slate yet

Neither the Democrats nor the Republicans have a complete 15-member senatorial slate yet. 

Sen. Régine Biscoe Lee is not seeking reelection and Castro is running for higher office. Of 13 other incumbent senators, Sen. Sabina Perez has yet to file her candidacy papers as of Monday afternoon.

Democrat Stephen M. Cruz, who's had campaign signs since late last year, on Monday said he will file his complete candidacy papers on Tuesday, to run for mayor of Merizo. 

Other mayoral and senatorial challengers are expected to also file on the last day.

Collecting signatures in support of potential candidacy became a challenge to many because the COVID-19 state of emergency forced a shutdown for several weeks. 

The pandemic continues to require social distancing and prohibit large gatherings. Campaigning will also be tougher than usual for residents used to shaking peoples' hands, hugging, and congregating during election season.

Eve of deadline

Monday's 12 primary election filings are as follows, in alphabetical order

  1. Michelle Armenta, challenger, for Republican senator
  2. Frank F. Blas Jr., challenger, for Republican senator
  3. Joanne Brown, challenger, for Republican senator
  4. Frank Cabrera Jr., challenger, for Democrat Piti mayor
  5. Thomas Diego, challenger, for Democrat Talofofo mayor
  6. Sylvia Flores, challenger, for Democrat Yigo vice mayor
  7. Vice Speaker Telena Nelson, incumbent, Democrat
  8. Peter Pascual, challenger, for Democrat Yigo mayor
  9. Yona Mayor Bill Quenga, incumbent, Democrat
  10. Committee to Draft Joseph Rivera, challenger, for Republican vice mayor for Sinajana
  11. Committee to Draft Dennis Rodriguez, challenger, for Democrat senator
  12. Michelle Hope Taitano, challenger, for Republican Asan-Maina mayor

Haidee Eugenio Gilbert

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