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MAPP PULLS OUT OF GUBERNATORIAL RACE

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Feb. 11, 2002 – Former Lt. Gov. Kenneth Mapp has dropped out of the race for governor. "Now is not the right time" for him to seek elected office, he said Saturday. Mapp had announced his candidacy in November.
In an interview on WSTX, Mapp said the changed political landscape, particularly that of the gubernatorial race, contributed to his decision not to run.
"I'm persuaded after meeting with my chief confidantes that a severe split in the votes exists and I don't believe the election will bring about fundamental change. It's best to let the field of candidates go."
The current mood of the voters is not what it was four years ago, he said. "In 1998, you could sense deep animosity with Schneider's style and leadership approach. You don't get that today."
That, coupled with the large field of candidates and the lack of a general crisis in the community, will not bring significant change in the territory's elected officials, he said.
Mapp, a Republican, was expected to run as an independent.
Although he had said in November on WVWI Radio that "there is no question, I have made a decision to seek the office of governor in the upcoming election," he said Saturday he was never sure he was going to run.
"The analysis my team was conducting, the research I was doing points to the fact that now is not my time. I had yet to make up my mind as to whether I was even going to run. We were doing the quantitative analysis first, and these are the results."
In the hour-long interview, Mapp also commented on a recent proposal to change the scope of responsibility of the lieutenant governor by creating an independent bureau of banking and insurance. Regulation of the two fields now falls under the purview of the lieutenant governor.
Mapp said the lieutenant governor should "not merely be there to check daily if the governor is alive and well."
He declined to say whom he would support in November.
"I have plans to vote early, often and everywhere," he said in an apparent reference to having been ousted from the Legislature some years ago for holding dual voter registration in the Virgin Islands and the state of Georgia.
Among the declared candidates in the race are Gov. Charles W. Turnbull, Dr. Cora Christian and Republican Party chief Samuel Baptiste.
Among those who have hinted they will enter the race are Lt. Gov. Gerard Luz James II, former Finance Commissioner John deJongh Jr., former Sen. Lloyd Williams, Republican businessman Michael Bornn and Dr. Olaf Hendricks.
The names of deJongh, a St. Thomas resident, and St. Croix businessman Paul Arnold have been joined in a series of ads run in recent months. There have been no other public mentions of potential running mates for the other possible candidates.

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