3 Sep 2020

Four teams to vie for American Samoa's governorship

2:46 pm on 3 September 2020

Four teams will vie to become governor and lieutenant governor in American Samoa's November general election.

The American Samoa Legislature Fono building in Fagatogo

The American Samoa Legislature Fono building in Fagatogo Photo: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

The territory's Chief Election Officer Dr Lealofi Uiagalelei confirmed four gubernatorial teams, three Congressional candidates and 51 aspirants for the House of Representatives all qualify to seek public office.

"Based upon the Nomination Petitions filed and other documents on record with the Election Office," Uiagalelei said he had determined the individuals who are "eligible to qualify as candidates for the November 03, 2020 General Election".

The deadline for nominees was the 1st of September and voters have until the close of business Friday to file challenges against candidates.

Five teams had announced a tilt at gubernatorial office but the official list shows only four making a run for governor and lieutenant governor including Senate President, Gaoteote Palaie Tofau, as governor and senator Fai'ivae Iuli Alexander Godinet as lieutenant governor.

Another team is the current lieutenant governor, Lemanu Palepoi Sialega Mauga, for governor with former attorney general, Talauega Eleasalo Ale, as candidate for lieutenant governor.

The four teams for the election of Governor/Lt Governor are:

  • Gaoteote Palaie Tofau & Fai'ivae Iuli Alexander Godinet
  • I'aulualo Fa'afetai Talia & Tapa'au Daniel Mageo Aga
  • Lemanu Palepoi Sialega Mauga & Talauega Eleasalo Va'alele Ale
  • Nua Sao & Tapumanaia Galu Satele Jr.

The first all female team, Fatumalala Al Shehri and Leah Smith, did not make the official list.

For the Delegate to the US House race, the incumbent Congresswoman Aumua Amata is being challenged by Meleagi Suitonu-Chapman and Oreta Crichton, a former cabinet member. Missing from the list is retired US Army Lt Colonel Supply Seau who had publicised he would be running.

Senate President Gaoteote Palaie, Lt. Gov Lemanu Peleti Mauga and Congresswoman Aumua Amata Radewagen attend the State of the Territory address. Jan 2017

Gaoteote Palaie Tofau, Lemanu Palepoi Sialega Mauga and Aumua Amata Radewagen (L-R). Photo: RNZI / Monica Miller

In the American Samoa House of Representative race, there are 51 candidates vying for the 20-elected seats. All current lawmakers are seeking re-election, including House Speaker Savali Talavou Ale who is facing three challengers. No one is running unopposed.

Some candidates are former lawmakers, including Sala Sataua Dr Mataese Samuelu, the current Agriculture Department director.

The 21st seat which is for Swains will be selected through consensus at a meeting of Swains islanders.

There are 8 women among the 51 candidates for the 2020 House of Representatives election. Incumbent governor, Lolo Matalasi Moliga, is not eligible to run having completed two terms in office.

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