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Christensen Wins Virgin Islands Gubernatorial Primary

James Wright | 8/4/2014, 2:39 p.m.
Virgin Islands gubernatorial hopeful Donna Christensen won the crucial Democratic primary Saturday, inching her closer to becoming the first black ...
Donna Christensen (Courtesy photo)

Virgin Islands gubernatorial hopeful Donna Christensen won the crucial Democratic primary Saturday, inching her closer to becoming the first black woman to govern a U.S. political jurisdiction.

Christensen and running mate Basil Ottley Jr. won 35 percent of the vote in Saturday's primary.

Christensen, 68, who has served in the House of Representatives as a delegate since 1997, said she is ready to fight in the Nov. 4 general election.

"I am pleased to have the nomination of the Democratic Party and I invite all of my fellow Democrats to work together with me to ensure victory in November," said Christensen, who is the first female physician to become a national legislator. "We have a lot of work to do; our people expect that we will have a common vision and a plan to move our territory forward."

The Virgin Islands has a population of 106,405 and is 76 percent black or Afro-Caribbean. Its residents are U.S. citizens and can participate in partisan primary politics in national presidential contests, but cannot vote in presidential elections.

While the Virgin Islands have independent and Republican parties, Democrats tend to dominate the territory's politics. Its congressional delegate cannot vote on the House floor but can work on committees and participate in party caucuses as a full member.

Stacey Plaskett won the Democratic primary to replace Christensen as the island's delegate.