9:09pm August 3, 2014

First Black Female Gov: Christensen Wins Crowded Virgin Islands Primary


There may have been storms on election day, but for Delegate Donna Christensen the sun was shining.  She and her running mate, Basil Ottley, beat out a crowded six candidate field to win the Democratic primary for Governor of the Virgin Islands.

Del. Christensen’s primary win and all but certain victory in the general election means she will be the first Black female Governor of the U.S. and its territories.

The Virgin Islands is one of five U.S. territories who claim as their President Barack Obama but oddly can’t vote in presidential elections.  The largest U.S. territory is Puerto Rico with over 5 million people.  Thanks to the House Republicans, Del. Christensen does not have a vote in on the House floor — all the Delegates in the U.S. House are Democrats. 

“Our community has a lot of work to do as we address the economy, energy costs, health care, education, the government retirement system, and our infrastructure,” a note from team Christensen read on facebook.

Back in March, Delegate — and Doctor — Christensen, announced she would be running for governor of the Virgin Islands.  Christensen has been known in her Congress for her work on health care and as a member of the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee.  She had focused lots on energy on getting the Virgin Islands Obamacare coverage. 

There were storms in the Caribbean yesterday as voters hit the polls.  A message to supporters:

“We would like to urge all of you to be prepared for the storm, securing your homes and your families before coming out to work or vote tomorrow.   With the closing of ports and the potential grounding of aircraft, our candidates will visit the polls on their respective home islands on Election Day, Donna on St. Croix and Basil on St. Thomas before ending the day at headquarters for the election night count.”

For Christensen and Ottley the day ended just fine.

About the Author

Lauren Victoria Burke
Lauren Victoria Burke
Lauren Victoria Burke is an opinion journalist, comms expert and political analyst focused on justice reform policy. She created Crewof42.com, a blog that covers the work of Black members of Congress, in 2009. Ms. Burke was a staffer for the Senate Democratic Policy Committee and Director of Communications for Rep. Andre Carson (D-IN). She has had a very diverse career in politics and media and appears regularly on NewsOneNow with Roland Martin, Hardball and Up on MSNBC, WVON in Chicago, WURD in Philadelphia and WOL and WHUR in Washington, D.C. She is currently the Managing Editor of Politic365 and a contributing writer for TheRoot and NBC Black where she writes opinion and analysis. Additionally, Ms. Burke has been a contract photographer for Associated Press since 2004. She has authored three books of photography including two on President Obama's 2008 campaign for the presidency and one with Marvel Comics publisher Stan Lee. Ms. Burke was born in the Bronx, New York and grew up on Long Island. She holds a B.A. in History from The American University. Here e-mail is: LBurke007@gmail.com. Twitter: @LVBurke. Instagram: LVB325.



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  1. legion3rei

    “Thanks to House Republicans” … they have nothing to do with a Delaware from a Territory having a vote or not.

  2. legion3rei

    “Thanks to House Republicans” … they have nothing to do with a Delagate from a Territory having a vote or not.

  3. Bruce williamson

    Well since she stated she flew home every weekend in office, that left her 3 workings days and exposing why nothing was achieved. Perhaps if she can stay put she can get some of her road map to recovery projects completed. I particularly like how every items involves spending any paying workers more and there is not one mention of where the money will come from. Are we to assume she will dial up album dr and he will send her a plane load of money? Oh boy begging is a great plan.

  4. Actually, Christensen is behind in the vote as of Wednesday morning.

  5. W Glasser

    Care to correct the headline? What a terrible prediction. Though Democrats are in the majority in the Territory, Virgin Islanders vote by person, not party, because we actually know the candidates. So to update everyone, Dr Christensen won the Democratic primary, was one of the two-top vote getters in the General Election, and lost the run-off in November. Ms Burke, you need more than a BA in History to understand the USVI, where voters care and know the candidates.

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