Monday, June 19, 2017


The CNMI's first Senators are sworn into office, January 1978

When the Northern Mariana Islands were made a Commonwealth of the United States in 1977, a bicameral (two house) legislature was created. The House was made up of representatives based on population. Thus, Saipan got the bulk of representatives while Tinian and Luta got one representative each. The House would be headed by a Speaker.

The Senate, on the other hand, gave each of the three main islands (Saipan, Tinian and Luta) three senators each. The islands north of Saipan (Pagan, Alamagan, etc.) would be included under Saipan. The Senate would be headed by a Senate President.

The first elections for the new CNMI government, executive and legislative branches, were held in December of 1977.

In those days, there was a Democratic Party in the CNMI, but not a Republican Party yet. The alternative party then was the Territorial Party. The Territorials proved victorious in the legislative race of 1977, while the Democratic candidates won the Governor and Lieutenant Governor positions.


Territorial (8)
Oscar Rasa (Speaker) - Saipan
Pedro Nakatsukasa - Saipan
Alonso Igisomar - Saipan
Miguel Kileleman - Saipan
Jose Lifoifoi - Saipan
Felicidad Ogumoro - Saipan
Placido Tagabuel - Saipan
Misael Ogo - Luta

Democrat (6)
Manases Borja - Saipan
Antonio Guerrero - Saipan
Jesus Guerrero - Saipan
Jesus Sonoda - Saipan
Joaquin Villanueva - Saipan
Serafina King - Tinian


Territorial (5)
Lorenzo Guerrero (President) - Saipan
Pedro Tenorio - Saipan
Julian Calvo - Luta
Joseph Inos - Luta
Benjamin Manglona - Luta

Democrat (4)
Serafin de la Cruz - Tinian
Hilario Diaz - Tinian
John Hofschneider - Tinian
Herman Guerrero - Saipan


  • The 1977 election gave the Carolinians a significant amount of representation in the House; 5 out of 14 seats (over a third). Because the Carolinians heavily voted Territorial, that boosted the Territorial Party's ability to capture the majority in the House.
  • Because 2/3 of the Senate was made up of the Luta and Tinian delegations, where there is no historical Carolinian community, Carolinian members of the Senate could be expected to be few.
  • Luta was strongly Territorial at the time; Tinian was strongly Democrat.

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