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1st woman elected as American Samoa delegate

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PAGO PAGO, American Samoa » Voters in American Samoa have elected the first woman to represent the territory in Congress, while unseating a longtime incumbent.

Republican challenger Aumua Amata Radewagen won Tuesday’s election with 42 percent of the vote, while incumbent Eni Faleomavaega had about 31 percent, putting him second among the nine candidates vying to become the territory’s nonvoting delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives.

Faleomavaega, first elected to the House in 1987, was seeking his 14th consecutive two-year term, but his health was a major concern. He was flown to Honolulu last year because of complications that he said are from exposure to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War.

Radewagen declined to comment Tuesday night about her victory.

Faleomavaega congratulated Radewagen and offered to help her in Washington, D.C.

"This is what democracy is all about, and I respect the decision made by our voters," he said.

Radewagen is the national committeewoman for the American Samoa Republican Party and has served in the Republican National Committee in various capacities. She’s also a member of the National Breast Cancer Coalition.

She’s the daughter of the late Gov. Peter Tali Coleman, who was the first popularly elected governor of the territory.

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