Sept. 10, 2006 – Incumbent senators garnered the top three spots in the St. Croix Democratic primary for the 27th Legislature.
Sen. Ronald Russell led all vote getters with 3,145 votes in what will be his second re-election bid, but the lead was just 130 votes higher than the total garnered by incumbent Sen. Juan Figueroa-Serville.
Results could change when absentee and walk-in votes are counted.
Sen. Neville James rounded off the top three just eight votes more than Michael Thurland, the fourth-place finisher. James, who received the popular vote when he ran for the 26th Legislature, could see his lead surpassed by Thurland, who last year also had a strong showing coming out of the primary but lost in the general election.
Another incumbent, at-large Sen. Craig Barshinger of St. John led all in this category by a wider margin. Barshinger garnered 41 percent of the votes compared to his closest contender, Elsie Thomas-Trotman, who garnered 32 percent of the votes.
Former Sen. Luther Renee, who lost a re-election bid for a seat in the 26th Legislature with a poor primary showing, has a second chance this time around.
He was among the seven who will be up against a slew of non-Democratic candidates in the general election.. The other winners in Saturday's primary were newcomer, Jim Weber, and Wayne James, who has run before. This is the first time that James has garnered enough votes to be among the seven during a primary despite several bids – at times on just write-in campaigns – for a Senate seat.
The winners according to ballot total are:
Russell – 3,145
Figueroa-Serville – 3,015
James – 2,824
Thurland – 2,816
James – 2,144
Weber – 2,136
Renee – 1,925
[The Source had originally reversed the numbers for James and Weber. We regret the error.]
Renee credited his win to people learning from the last election and to a bit of hard work on his part to remind them how important getting out to vote in the primary is.
"I'm hoping to regroup and do better in the general election in order to make it to the 27th Legislature," Renee said, acknowledging that absentee ballots can change the outcome of the race.
"I've had to tell a lot of people that the primary is the first leg in order to get there," he said of the November election.
Weber said he was happy not to be in the seventh and final slot.
"What my supporters did for me was incredible," he said, adding that in order to reward them, he must see to it that he goes all the way by snagging a seat in the 27th Legislature in the November election.
Barshinger, who easily sailed into victory with 4,159 and watched the results come in from a perch at the Elections Office on St. Croix, said he was gratified with his win.
"It feels fantastic to be selected to represent the Democratic Party in the general election," Barshinger said. "I've worked hard on behalf of the people of the Virgin Islands and particularly on behalf of Democrats to make being a Democrat something to be proud out. I thank my fellow Democrats who have rewarded me tonight with an overwhelming victory."
Elsie Thomas-Trotman garnered 3,220 and William Belardo, the third candidate, got 2,767. There were nine write-in votes.
Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.