Are the gubernatorial teams on Guam attempting to influence the non-partisan race for attorney general? Former attorney general Doug Moylan, a candidate for the position in the upcoming general election, released screen shots of alleged text messages from a would be-opponent, attorney Peter Santos. The text messages appear to show Mr. Santos claiming that both the Leon Guerrero and the Camacho gubernatorial campaigns reached out to Santos, upset about his write-in campaign for attorney general because they assume Santos will spoil the election against Leevin Camacho, the incumbent.
Among the messages, Santos allegedly wrote to Moylan: “[R]epresentatives from both gubernatorial camps contacted me and asked me to lay off of Leevin. They don’t want you to win, and they are going to do everything in their power to make sure Leevin wins. I felt like I had to jump in, in order to try and take the guaranteed win from Leevin.” Kandit this morning reached out to the managers of both the Lou and Josh and the Camacho Ada campaigns for comment, but received no reply as of press time.
“Serious questions arise from this September 10, 2022 communication alleging that the two political parties are attempting to improperly influence voters in the non-partisan chief-law-enforcement-officer-for-Guam race for attorney general,” Mr. Moylan said in a statement. “I believe that I have the most to offer the voters. With the most years of experience as an attorney (30 years), the first elected attorney general, the most independent and autonomous AG candidate and a winning track record fighting crime, I remain the toughest AG on crime.”
McNinch questions legality, qualification of Santos as AG write-in candidate
Dr. Ron McNinch, an elections and political expert on Guam, believes the law is clear and that the Guam Election Commission cannot allow a write-in candidacy for the race for attorney general of Guam. Dr. McNinch said, “[I]n my opinion, a person can run as a write in candidate at the primary election for AG, but if two candidates are certified at the primary election, no write ins should be allowed. Only two candidates are allowed on the general election ballot for AG. Having a write in line creates a third candidate line and negates the intent of the legislature to ensure a majority at the general election for the AG. On a final note, a person running for the AG position has to be qualified to run for this office. Part of the qualification is finishing first or second in the primary election. Any regular candidate for office has to file all kinds of financial statements and character paperwork like police and court clearances. Treating a person as a legitimate candidate while allowing them the luxury of evading basic election requirements is not healthy for civic relations in our community.”
Dr. McNinch wrote to the GEC last week, urging the commission to print ballots that do not have a write-in line for the AG race. His concern follows an announcement by attorney Peter Santos that he is mounting a write-in campaign against Leevin Camacho and Doug Moylan, the two candidates who competed in the primary election and advanced into the general election.
“As a voting citizen, I would prefer that the process specified in the Guam Code be followed,” Dr. McNinch wrote. “A person running for the attorney general must follow the process and procedures.”
Dr. McNinch has previously served as a commissioner for Guam elections.