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The 2008 American Samoa gubernatorial election took place on November 4, 2008, coinciding with the 2008 United States general elections and the American Samoa general election. Because no candidate received more than 50% of the vote, a runoff election between the top two candidates was held on November 18, 2008, which Togiola Tulafono won. All elections in American Samoa are officially non-partisan, but Tulafono and Sunia identify with the Democratic Party.
Incumbent Governor Togiola Tulafono and Lieutenant Governor Ipulasi Aitofele Sunia announced their intent to seek re-election on May 10, 2008. They are being challenged by three nonpartisan team tickets. Candidates for governor and lieutenant governor are elected under the same ticket. All elections in American Samoa are nonpartisan.
Governor Togiola Tulafono and Lieutenant Governor Ipulasi Aitofele Sunia announced their intent to seek re-election on May 10, 2008. Their formal announcement, which Tulafono called "the worst kept secret of this season," took place before a crowd of approximately three hundred supporters at the Tradewinds Hotel in Tafuna.
Afoa Moega Lutu formally announced his own candidacy for Governor of American Samoa at a campaign rally at the same Tradewinds Hotel on May 17, 2008. The rally consisted of about seven hundred Lutu supporters. Lutu promised to tackle a number of issues if elected governor, including corruption, rising food and energy prices and the economy.
This is not the first time that Tulafono and Lutu faced each other in a gubernatorial election. Tulafono defeated Lutu in the 2004 gubernatorial runoff election with 56 percent of the total vote to Lutu's 44 percent. Lutu also fell short in his bids for Lieutenant Governor of American Samoa in the 1996 and 2000 elections, losing both times to Tulafono.
The President of the American Samoa Senate, Lolo Moliga, also originally announced his intention to run for governor as well. However, Lolo withdrew from the race on June 13, 2008, just two months into his campaign, citing existing commitments to his extended family clan. He also noted the need to prevent divisiveness within the families of the Manu'a islands, where many of the gubernatorial and Lt. governor candidates have ancestral ties.
Four of the 2008 candidates for governor or lieutenant governor in the 2008 election either were from or had ancestral ties to the Manu'a Islands. Those with Manu'a ancestry are incumbent Lt. Governor Ipulasi Aitofele Sunia, lieutenant governor candidate Velega Savali, and both members of the gubernatorial team of Utu Abe Malae and his running mate, Nua Mailo Saoluaga.
The deadline to register as a candidate for governor in the current election was September 1, 2008, at 4:30 P.M. An official list of the four teams was released by the election office the following day.
|American Samoa gubernatorial election, 2008|
|Candidate||Running mate||First round||Second round|
|Togiola Tulafono (incumbent)||Ipulasi Aitofele Sunia (inc.)||5,117||41.24%||6,590||56.45%|
|Utu Abe Malae||Nua Mailo Saoluaga||3,881||31.28%||5,084||43.55%|
|Afoa Moega Lutu||Velega Savali||3,347||26.97%|
|Tuika Tuika||Tee Masaniai||63||0.51%|
|Invalid or blank votes|