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Former American Samoa governor to run for delegate

June 4, 2014 - 12:31pm

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa — A former governor of American Samoa will seek election as the territory’s nonvoting delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives.

The announcement by Togiola Talalelei Tulafono was made before incumbent Eni Faleomavaega disclosed whether he will seek a 14th consecutive two-year term. Three other candidates are also in the race.

Tulafono, 67, became governor of American Samoa in 2003 when then-Gov. Tauese Sunia died and Tulafono moved up from lieutenant governor. He won gubernatorial elections in 2004 and 2008.

He announced his candidacy for the delegate seat on Tuesday in a campaign advertisement in the Samoa News.

The Democrat says his experience in the territorial government shows he can represent American Samoa well before Congress.

“The delegate must work hand-in-hand and collaborate with leaders of the territory … so that policies are consistent as to what we need for the territory,” and comply with federal laws, he said.

Tulafono is now a lawyer in private practice and chairman of the American Samoa Rugby Union.

Faleomavaega did not return a call seeking comment. Faleomavaega, like Tulafono, is a Democrat, while the other three candidates are not affiliated with political parties.

American Samoa’s elections office will begin accepting candidate registration next month for the delegate race and the territorial House of Representatives.

The territory doesn’t have a primary — all candidate who file will go on the November ballot. The candidate with the most votes will win the seat, regardless of whether he or she earns a majority of votes.

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