The man who has served as the state chairman of the Virgin Islands Republican Party will not be allowed to seek reelection after officials at the territory’s elections system disqualified him. St. Croix Republican John Canegata was one of 11 people whose applications to appear on ballots as candidates for public office were rejected.
Among the aspirants turned away was a candidate for the governor’s race who filed an application without naming a lieutenant governor. Andrew Marrero from the St. Croix district was disqualified by the elections system as they completed the process of certifying all applications.
Canegata served in an official capacity for the territory’s Republicans since 2012. He is the subject of a complaint filed in District Court by representatives of the Republican National Committee over alleged trademark infringement. Complainants are seeking an injunction, and a hearing is scheduled to be heard by Chief District Court Judge Robert Molloy on Wednesday morning.
Shortly after releasing a list of aspirants who filed by the May 17 deadline, Deputy Elections Supervisor Terrell Alexandre said omitting a partner candidate for the lieutenant governor’s race was considered a defect.
Two applications in the St. Thomas-St. John District and nine in the St. Croix district were disqualified. Four Democrats and seven Republican aspirants’ names will not appear on ballots in the 2022 election season unless they appear as write-ins. Races that saw some candidates culled from the list included the Board of Elections, Board of Education, state chairman, political party territorial committee seats, and the governor’s race.
No hopefuls for the 35th Legislature in either district were affected.
One elections system official said two or three of those rejected asked to have their applications withdrawn before final decisions were made. “Most were issued a notice of defect. They were given three days to respond, and they didn’t respond,” said Alexandre on Tuesday.
St. Thomas-St. John-Water Island District Deputy Supervisor Kevermae Douglas said the reasons for disqualification varied. The candidate may not have gathered the proper number of signatures for their petitions; they may have failed to have required pages in the submission set notarized. It also may have been a discrepancy between the information contained in the elections system database and the information appearing on their application form.
Some applications may have had multiple errors, Douglas said.
The official listing released by the system on Tuesday named the following disqualifications:
Randolph Bennett, Board of Education
Isheba James, Territorial Committee (district seat)
Andrew Marrero, Governor
Emerito Torres, Board of Elections
Jeanette Guzman, Board of Elections
John Canegeta, Republican Party State Chairman
Humberto O’Neal, Territorial Committee (At-Large seat)
Valerie Stiles, Territorial Committee (district seat)
Jose C. Nieves, Territorial Committee (district seat)
George H. Byam, Territorial Committee
Kwame Garcia Sr., Territorial Committee (At-Large seat)
Humberto O’Neal Accepted for Terr. Committee (district seat)