On Nov. 11, Northern Mariana Islands Governor Ralph Torres appointed Franklin Babauta to the District 1 seat in the NMI House of Representatives. The seat had been vacant since October when former NMI House Minority Leader Edwin Propst resigned due to sexual misconduct allegations.
The Northern Mariana Islands constitution requires that legislative vacancies that occur when less than half the term remains must be filled by the candidate who won the second-highest vote total in the most recent election. Babauta ran as an independent in the 2018 election, in which he placed seventh in a race for six seats. Babauta will serve out the remainder of Propst’s term, which ends in January 2021. He did not run for election to the seat in the general election on Nov. 3.
The Northern Mariana Islands House of Representatives is the lower house of the Northern Mariana Islands Commonwealth Legislature. All 20 seats in the chamber were up for election on Nov. 3. Prior to the election, the Republican Party held a majority in the chamber.