In what has to be one of the biggest upsets in Virgin Islands politics, Attorney Stacey Plaskett has won the Delegate to Congress race against seasoned politician Shawn-Michael Malone, who’s also the sitting Senate President and a well-loved figure in the Virgin Islands.
Attorney Plaskett’s victory was also decisive, as she carried 49.50 percent totaling 4,224 votes, while Malone managed 41.58 percent totaling 3,487 votes. Emmett Hansen, considered a spoiler candidate by some, only collected 664 votes.
The win came as a surprise to many political analysts who had concluded that Malone would have won a stinging victory against Plaskett, basing their projections on the Senator’s popularity and his ability to raise more money. But there were many factors at play this year that hurt Malone and ultimately lead to his loss, most pointedly the “Malone Amendment” which, according to those who opposed the bill, sought to take jobs away from St. Croix’s already hurting economy, while giving unjustified tax breaks to big corporations in a time when the territory is in dire need of revenue. The problem was magnified when Governor deJongh vetoed the legislation, only to see Malone and other Senators override the veto without allowing for proper Senate hearings and other important legislative processes.
To Plaskett’s credit, her efforts were unlike any other we’ve seen in recent times, and there’s no doubt that she worked hard for this victory — traversing the Islands, making her case to the people at every stop, selling her platform the best way she knew how, and pressing forward in the midst of many controversies that sought to quell her gains. In the end, as last night’s results show, attorney Plaskett came out on top.