Today's First Election Result: Candidate Indirectly Linked to Abramoff Loses

By David North on November 6, 2012

A candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives, indirectly linked to disgraced, mass-migration lobbyist Jack Abramoff apparently has lost; it is the first result of the day.

The returns (albeit partial) are available because the election took place on the other side of the International Date Line, in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), just north of Guam in the western Pacific.

The losing candidate, for the nonvoting seat in the House, is Ignacia Acha Tudela Demapan, who had been supported by CNMI Governor Benigno Fitial, the last remaining elected U.S. official who had been allied to Abramoff.

Fitial, in turn, has one of the most dismal sets of immigration policies under the U.S. flag, being a long-time supporter of the local employers of badly treated migrant workers. Fitial endorsed Demapan against the sitting delegate, Kilili Sablan, whose own immigration policies are not particularly commendable — but at least he is free of the Abramoff connection.

With about one third of the votes counted, Sablan was leading Demapan by more than three to one; the count was 2,292 for Sablan, and 589 for his opponent. There are not very many voters in these islands, as a huge percent of the population consists of nonimmigrant workers.

Given the strong pull of local issues in CNMI, the result has no national significance, but it is the first of the day. Oddly, Demapan was backed by the recently nearly impeached Fitial, as Sablan was supported by the earlier, nearly impeached Bill Clinton. Demapan was the GOP candidate; Sablan ran as an independent, but sits with the Democrats in the U.S. House.

Abramoff, before he was convicted and jailed, had been an all-too successful advocate of expanding the H-1B program on the mainland and importing tens of thousands of badly exploited "guest-workers" to the Marianas, many of whom worked in the now-shuttered garment sweatshops.

For some background on the islands and immigration issues, see my recent blog on the topic.