Latest 2012 battle: Guam
March 9th, 2012
12:17 PM ET
3 years ago

Latest 2012 battle: Guam

(CNN) – The Pacific island of Guam is nearly 8,000 miles from Mitt Romney's campaign headquarters in Boston, but in the scrap for 2012 delegates no distance seems too far.

On Thursday, Romney's campaign announced they were sending the candidate's son Matt to Guam and Saipan, in the Northern Mariana Islands, where Republicans will hold caucuses on Saturday.

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And on Friday the campaign touted the endorsement of Guam Gov. Eddie Baza Calvo, who told Pacific Daily News Romney "understands" the impact federal regulations have on isolated islands like his.

Guam and the Northern Marianas are United States territories, which award delegates in the nominating process along with Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and American Samoa. The largest prize of the U.S. territories comes in Puerto Rico, which has 23 total delegates, and votes on March 18.

Guam carries nine delegates, a drop in the bucket for candidates looking to reach the 1,144 number a candidate needs to clinch the GOP nomination. But in tight contests, every delegate contributes to a potential nomination. In 2008, then-candidate Barack Obama beat Hillary Clinton by just seven votes, 2,265 to 2,257 on the Pacific Island.

The two Democratic presidential hopefuls inundated the island with radio and television advertisements, each promising long-awaited political gains: the ability for Guamanians to be able to vote for president, lifting the territory's cap on Medicaid and, perhaps the most coveted prize of all, war reparations in the form of more than $120 million.

In 2012 no GOP candidate has purchased air time in Guam, though the candidates have not ignored the 212 square mile island, which has a population of just under 176,000.

Aside from the visit from Romney's son, the island's GOP leaders were treated to a telephone call from Rick Santorum, according to Pacific Daily News. The candidate made his case for the Republicans' votes, but also apologized for joking in January that he would banish certain federal judges to the island as punishment.

A Guam senator said the apology was "very sincere," according to the paper.

Another U.S. territory voting Saturday – the U.S. Virgin islands – will send nine delegates to the Republican convention. Herb Schoenbohm, the GOP chairman for the Virgin Islands, said Friday Republicans on the islands would caucus from noon to about 6 p.m. local time.

Schoenbohm said Republicans in the U.S. Virgin Islands are showing strong interest in the presidential race because the territory is plagued with high unemployment and gas prices approaching $5 a gallon.

Because residents of the Virgin Islands can't vote in the general election, Schoenbohm said "we have a voice at the convention. We can help decide who the nominee is. It's our only chance."

While territories are allowed to vote in primaries and caucuses to send delegates to party conventions, they have no electoral votes to select the president in the general election.

– CNN's Janet DiGiacomo contributed to this report.

Also see:

Romney in Mississippi: 'I like grits'

GOP quick to criticize president over jobs report

DNC hits Romney on individual mandate

Game Change' actors dish on Palin, portrayals and politics


Filed under: 2012 • Guam • Mitt Romney • Rick Santorum
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    If they are concerned about federal regulations, maybe they should go it alone, like in WWII?

    March 9, 2012 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  2. Rudy NYC

    On Thursday, Romney's campaign announced they were sending the candidate's son Matt to Guam and Saipan, in the Northern Mariana Islands.......
    -----------–
    I understand that "Titanic" director James Cameron is already conveniently out there on other business. He's been out there creating some local jobs.

    March 9, 2012 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  3. Patrick in Minnesota

    Well sorry Guam that big brother federal government for saving you from the Japanese during World War II, lest you forgot.

    March 9, 2012 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  4. MTATL67

    Considering how the GOP race for the nomination is going. Smart to let no delegate go to waste.

    March 9, 2012 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  5. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    Geez, all the liberal hostility toward poor little Guam! Leftists didn't get vent your hatred on Palin today???

    March 9, 2012 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  6. JDinTexas

    When Romney sends one of his sons to fight in Afghanistan, I will be impressed.

    March 9, 2012 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  7. Texas Doc

    Rmoney: You know I like to chew Guam! Hah! you are all welcomed to swim near my yacht!

    March 9, 2012 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  8. Expat American

    Romney had better figure out what they like to eat there and then find himself a baby to carry around.

    March 9, 2012 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  9. The-Least-Unelectable

    We have done about all we can do to alienate most of the general electorate, except the racists and the very old evangelical whites. Guam here we come. #weeping4dGOP

    March 9, 2012 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  10. kurtinco

    Truth and Nothing But the Truth wrote:
    "Geez, all the liberal hostility toward poor little Guam! Leftists didn't get vent your hatred on Palin today???"

    Sorry, hon. It ain't liberals showing hostility towards the islands. That would be the bigoted, tea party, republican taliban and everyone here knows it.

    March 9, 2012 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  11. George

    My version of math may work in a different way than the writer's but 2,265 – 2,257 = 8 for me, not 7.

    March 9, 2012 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  12. Rudy NYC

    Santorum has a Guam problem. Earlier this year he was criticizing "liberal judges", wishing that he could work around their lifetime appointments by "sending them to Guam or somewhere." Comedians, like myself on a Friday PM Live, just love Rick Santorum.

    March 9, 2012 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |