Nelson Abandons Bid for Governor

Sen. Positive T Nelson, seen in a 2017 Legislative session. (File photo)
Sen. Positive T Nelson, seen in a 2017 Legislative session. (File photo)

Sen. Positive Nelson has dropped his complaint and petition for a temporary restraining order against the V.I Board of Elections decision that disqualified his team from participating in the 2018 gubernatorial campaign.

In an interview following his St. Croix District Court hearing Friday, Nelson said he was tired of the “back and forth wrangling” and decided it was “not prudent to go forward just to prove a point.”

Nelson’s troubles began when he had difficulties securing a running mate and time was running out. But less than 25 hours after he publicly told his supporters he was withdrawing from the race, he introduced Gary Udhwani, a St. Thomas businessman, as his running mate. But Nelson soon discovered that behind the mountain was another mountain.

His troubles escalated just few days later when the elections board voted to disqualify him and his running mate in their bid for governor and lieutenant governor. The board concluded that Udhwani was circulating petitions for signatures before he was legally registered as an elector, rending the signatures invalid.

Although Nelson dropped the case, the ordeal has left a bitter taste in his mouth.

“I have been the subject of discriminatory bias from certain members of the board of elections. The elections system should be more user-friendly to encourage and assist participants in the election process. It’s not fair, we had a case but we withdrew it with prejudice. I’m not going to fight anymore.”

Nelson’s attorney, Trudy Fenster, said this case has brought to light some of the inconsistencies in the election laws. She said senators need to fix it because the process is “very burdensome.”

“A lawmaker has to decide to put in the time to modify the code and bring it up to date,” she said.

When asked what was next for Nelson, considering that he abdicated his seat in the Legislature to run for governor, the seven-term senator said he will serve St. Croix in other ways.

“I am raising my children and my grandchildren, I am rooted here, I’m not going anywhere,“ he said.

Nelson thanked members of the public for their support.

“I appreciate the honor bestowed on me. I am still a senator and I hope to get additional legislation passed before I leave office.

In a parting shot Nelson referenced one of his core platform points; the legalization of medicinal cannabis and legalization of the adult use of cannabis.

“We need to catch up,” he said pointing out that several U.S. states have “turned around their economy” with cannabis revenues. “It’s been proven, we need to contemplate this.”

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