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Incumbents Reign Supreme in St. Croix Senatorial Race

Nov. 7, 2006 — All six St. Croix incumbents retained their seats, while a Democratic newcomer captured the seat vacated by Democratic Sen. Pedro "Pete" Encarnacion during Tuesdays St. Croix senatorial race.
Incumbent Sen. Terrence "Positive" Nelson led other candidates from the onset.
He said his first-place showing, with 9,019 votes, was an indication that people want politicians to do their jobs and that party affiliation matters little.
"I knew that the people seemed to be gravitating to the movement — demanding efficiency in services — but their overwhelming [support] makes me so humbled," Nelson said shortly after the Elections Office released voting results.
The totals are unofficial until absentee ballots and walk-in votes are counted. Supervisor of Elections John Abramson said that both the St. Thomas-St. John and St. Croix districts will begin counting those votes Wednesday.
According to Abramson, there are 245 walk-in votes, 455 absentee ballots and seven faxed ballots on St. Croix; while St. Thomas figures include 391 walk-in votes and 591 absentee ballots.
Tuesday night, Nelson and supporters formed a motorcade from his headquarters near Estate Strawberry and rode to the nearby Elections Office with sirens blaring.
"I told my committee, lets try to win the election before tonight," he said, adding that he and supporters had worked over the last two years, meeting with community organizations and youth groups. "I think people saw that we were doing something positive in addition to what I tried to accomplish in the Legislature," Nelson said.
One of those accomplishments will come into play in January when new senators are sworn in. In the past, those in the majority have been privileged to get larger office spaces and bigger allotments. Nelson introduced legislation to ensure that all senators get equality in allotments.
Sen. Ronald Russell, who placed second in the St. Croix district with 7,564 votes, echoed Nelsons sentiments on his win, noting that it was Nelsons willingness to work with all groups that caused voters, largely Democrats, to cast ballots for him.
Russell, who is heading into his third term as a Democratic senator, said that he also was humbled by his win.
"I feel a sense of humility because regardless of what term it is, you still feel elated when youre elected and given a mandate," he said, adding that he will continue the fight to get the Supreme Court located on St. Croix.
Despite V.I. law, which states that the Supreme Court must be located on St. Thomas, Russell said he feels strongly that it should be on St. Croix and hopes that a new administration will see things his way.
With Tuesdays win, eight Democrats are in place to form a slim majority. Russell said he was happy that Democrat Jimi Weber captured the seat vacated by Encarnacion.
"I think its a great start to the formation of a majority of senators with similar ideologies," he said." I know Jimi, and I know we all can work together."
Nelson, who formed a majority in the 26th Legislature that consisted of Democrats, independents and Independent Citizens Movement party members, said he's "willing to work with anybody for the betterment of St. Croix."
Sen. Neville James, who came in a disappointing seventh place with 6,350 votes (after being the top vote getter in 2004), said he's also looking forward to building a majority.
"We have eight Democrats, and I look forward to us coming together and having a majority. Eight out of 15 is a slim majority but a majority nonetheless."
James described the re-election campaign as "trying." He said last time he was blessed to have the time to campaign, but this time around he had "the responsibility of going to work as a senator." Placing seventh, with less than 400 votes between him and an eight-place losing finish was disappointing.
"The name of the game is to get in the top seven. Obviously, you want to be higher than that, but Im just glad that I offered myself twice to the electorate and the people accepted me," he said.
James said he believed that the overall showing was a referendum on the gubernatorial race. "I believe Democratic candidates on St. Croix were in a very precarious position relative to the gubernatorial race," he said. "There is a solid sentiment on St. Croix for a Crucian governor, and our Democratic gubernatorial candidate is from St. Thomas."
James said it doesnt matter that a "Crucian governor" must live on St. Thomas.
Weber, who has been credited for running an unorthodox campaign, was also grateful for his win. After placing fifth in the primary, Weber placed large signs across the island thanking voters for their support. According to Weber, "The voters said 'We like the guys that are there, but let me add this new one.'" He added that he was overwhelmed by his win.
Unofficial Results for St. Croix Senatorial Race
Sen. Terrence Positive Nelson — 9,109
Sen. Ronal E. Russell — 7,564
Sen. Usie Richards — 6,599
Sen. Norman Jn Baptiste — 6,562
Sen. Juan Figueroa-Serville — 6,416
Jimi Weber — 6,398
Sen. Neville James — 6,350
(Above candidate secure Senate seats)
Michael Thurland — 6,041
Wayne James — 5,667
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