Good morning, to all our readers. Why on earth is a thread like this here? That’s because true political junkies NEVER SLEEP.
On Tuesday, five states will be heading to the polls: Florida, Ohio, Illinois, Missouri, and North Carolina. Nearly drowned out in all the excitement, however, is the fact that the Northern Mariana Islands will also hold their Republican caucus today. Since the Northern Marianas are 14 hours ahead of the east coast US, I felt it appropriate to set up an election thread for the results, as by Tuesday morning in the US mainland, we should have the results from the elections in the islands by the time most people are getting ready for work. The caucus is winner take all, and nine delegates are at stake.
Who is going to win? It’s hard to say because there haven’t been any polls conducted. Pictured above on the right is governor Ralph Torres, who made a surprise endorsement of Donald Trump on March 11. I discussed the surprise Torres endorsement here. Given the endorsement, I am expecting Trump to take the islands, which would be a nice start for him on Tuesday. I posted my essay on conditions in the Northern Marianas this morning to help readers get an understanding of the issues facing the territory going into this election.
Overlooked with five large mainland states also holding primaries Tuesday, the contest could also serve as an early barometer of momentum for the night’s winner because its results will come in the morning on the East Coast.
The biggest political issue in the Northern Mariana Islands is maintaining a flow of immigrant labor to maintain a tourist industry that caters to visiting Chinese.
Gov. Ralph Torres, a 36-year-old Republican who took the office in December when his predecessor died, said in a phone interview last week that he threw his support behind Donald Trump because the New Yorker promised to pay more attention to the islands.
“He is the only candidate remaining who has emphasized the importance of the commonwealth areas,” Mr. Torres said. “He is the only candidate that I believe would give the attention we need in the White House.”
The biggest mainland voice in Northern Mariana Islands Republican politics is Jason Osborne, who serves as executive director of the commonwealth’s GOP from his home in Virginia. Mr. Osborne also served as a senior strategist for Mr. Carson and on Friday joined the Trump campaign as a senior adviser on its delegate selection team. Hours after Mr. Osborne was announced as a member of Mr. Trump’s campaign staff, the governor endorsed the New Yorker.
Paying attention to the Northern Mariana Islands is a good way to win islanders’ votes. In 2012 Mitt Romney dispatched his son, Matt, to stump for him on Saipan the day before the caucuses. It was the first time a Republican presidential candidate sent a representative to campaign there. The trip won Mr. Romney the governor’s endorsement and he took 87% of the caucus vote and all nine delegates.
You can view the current time in Saipan here to help get a rough idea of when we may see results. I expect we will know something between 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. EST. CNN has a page for the results from the Northern Mariana Islands here.
Open thread, folks. Have fun.