50 Lawmakers want second term, 15 seek third
With seven days to the end of Candidate Nomination of the 2017 presidential and representative elections, the Daily Observer has gathered that at least 66 of the 73 incumbents are vying to return to the House of Representatives.
On Tuesday, January 16, 2018, the term of the 53rd Legislature will end. The election of new and returning lawmakers, totaling 73, coupled with the current 30 Senators will give birth to the 54th Legislature.
Based on interviews conducted with all 73 members of the Lower House, of the 66 sitting Representatives seeking re-election, 15 are running for their third term (hat-trick), 50 are eyeing their second (brace), while an incumbent Representative who have served two terms will be seeking his first term from another county.
Seven Pull Out
The seven Representatives who will not be contesting the October poll are former Speaker, Rep. J. Alex Tyler (Bomi); Rep. Worlea Saywah Dunah (Nimba); Rep. Moses Kollie (Lofa); Rep. James Biney (Maryland); Rep. Morias Waylee (Grand Gedeh); Rep. Samuel Worleh (Nimba); and Rep. George Wesseh Blamoh (Grand Kru).
15 for Hat-trick
It has been established that 15 lawmakers are contesting for their third term since the 52nd Legislature (2006). They include the Speaker, Representative J. Emmanuel Nuquay (Margibi); Reps. George Mulbah, Tokpha Mulbah and Adam Bill Corneh and Corpu Barclay (Bong); Reps. Gabriel Smith and J. Byron Browne (Grand Bassa); Rep. Haja Siryon (Bomi); Rep. Gertrude Lamin (Gbarpolu); Rep. Zoe E. Pennue (Grand Gedeh); Rep. Bhofal Chambers (Maryland); Rep. Thomas Fallah and Edward Forh (Montserrado); Rep. Christian Chea (River Gee); and Rep. Jefferson Kanmoh (Sinoe).
“I try to represent the people. I’m not there to represent the party, so I don’t take a party-line approach to any issue, no matter what it is,” Rep. Jefferson Kanmoh, one of the lawmakers, who will be seeking his third term, said.
All except Snowe
Fifty (50) Representatives from all the 15 counties will be seeking re-election for the second time. Montserrado County Representative Edwin Snowe, who should be seeking a rare third term, having served two terms from that county, will be seeking his first from another, Bomi County. Rep. Snowe has been described as a “maverick” because he will be the only sitting Representative to who have served twice as the Representative of one county and yet be petitioned and subsequently accept to serve as a new Representative of another county.
The creation of new political parties and the effects of their proliferation are causing lawmakers to cross-over from one party to another. Moreover, the seeming end of the term of the ruling party is also characterized by cross-overs, as many cast their nets wide to align themselves with the potential next “Power-to-be”.
Statistics show that of the 66 Representatives who will be seeking re-election, about 40 have joined and will be running on another party’s ticket, instead of their initial party.
Records show that about seven incumbents will be running on the new ticket of People’s Unification Party (PUP), five will be running on the ticket of the Coalition of Democratic Change (CDC) and the Liberian People’s Democratic Party (LPDP); and two on the Alternative National Congress (ANC).
Over 10 lawmakers have left one party to join another, including from being independent candidates to alignment with a political party, including Rep. Gabriel Smith, Lester Paye, and Edwin M. Snowe.