Republican candidates target American Samoa
Republican candidates hoping to secure their bid to run for the United States presidency, are showing unprecented interest in American Samoa.
Republican candidates hoping to secure their bid to run for the United States presidency, are showing unprecedented interest in American Samoa.
Three Republican candidates remain in the presidential candidate race, Donald Trump, US senator Ted Cruz of Texas and Ohio's governor John Kasich.
American Samoa's local GOP members held a caucus last night to hear directly from the Republican candidates, and their on-island representatives.
Local Party chairman Utu Abe Malae told Leilani Momoisea that never before have US candidates put so much effort into winning American Samoa's nine delegate votes.
UTU ABE MALAE: This is an unusual election cycle. We've never had this much interest before in the islands, in the territories from what I understand from our other sister territories, there's so much interest. The candidates would send down their people from their staff to campaign here on the island, to meet with us, they would call us, the candidates themselves would call us personally. Same thing with the media, with CNN, with the Associated Press, with others, they'll call up and ask to interview us. There's so much interest, this is an unusual election cycle.
LEILANI MOMOISEA: It must be nice to know how much your votes count. I mean, they count the same as every other year but particularly this year it feels like perhaps they really do count for something?
UTU ABE MALAE: You're absolutely right, Leilani. There's so much hubub in the campaigning in the States as you may have seen on television that yes, our votes really count in this election. Before, it was a slam dunk for the leading candidate. But now, you have Mr Trump ahead and then the mainstream party are trying very hard to make it a challenge for him to run.
LEILANI MOMOISEA: Was there a decision made on how those nine delegates are going to vote?
UTU ABE MALAE: No, that's the interesting thing about the American Samoa Republican party is that we do not bind our delegates, what that means is we do not decide here. Like, many of the other territories they decide at the caucus who they are going to support, or there will be a proportionate amount depending on the votes. Ours is not like that, we wait until July to declare who we are supporting.
As the delegates are uncommitted, it's expected the presidential candidates and their representatives will continue to go after them for their support.
The GOP candidate needs 1,237 votes to win.
American Samoans are unable to vote in the United States general elections, but can participate in the nominating contests to select who will contest the presidency.
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