[State of Hawaii 2014 Election Guide]
CANDIDATE Q&A
Voters' Guide: Primary Election
 

Top offices draw stiff competition

◼ By Derrick DePledge

Gov. Neil Abercrombie or state Sen. David Ige?

U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz or U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa?

Primary voters will help direct the course of state Democratic Party politics in August in the first election since the death of U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye, the dominant figure in Hawaii's political culture for half a century.

Voters sign in at the polling station at Noelani Elementary School in Manoa. (Photo: Craig T. Kojima / 2010)

Abercrombie's re-election -- his last campaign in a political career that spans four decades -- has been complicated by an insurgent challenge from Ige, chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee.

The state's economic turnaround since the recession should bode well for Abercrombie, but the governor's job approval ratings have not tracked with the recovery. Ige has questioned the governor's leadership ability.

Abercrombie's struggles have also given political life to former Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona, a Republican who lost to Abercrombie in 2010, and former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann, who fell to Abercrombie in the Democratic primary in 2010 and is now running under the Hawaii Independent Party.

A three-way governor's race means that a candidate can take Washington Place with a plurality in the November general election.

Schatz, who was appointed by Abercrombie in December 2012 to replace Inouye, has argued he has already proved his effectiveness after 18 months in office.

Hanabusa, whom Inouye had wanted as his successor, has countered that she is the more experienced legislator.

CORRECTIONS, CLARIFICATIONS

To report errors in the election guide, e-mail webmasters@staradvertiser.com.
July 31
• Added profile, Q&A for Joli Tokusato.
July 28
• Fixed an error where middle names and nicknames were not displaying properly in the online guide.
• Fixed answers for Harvey H. McInerny. The answers in the print guide were accidentally transposed from another candidate.
• Added profile for T. Keikialoha Kekipi. His profile was accidentally omitted from the print guide; also appears in print on B2, July 29.
July 27
• Added profile for Allen Frenzel. His profile was accidentally omitted from the print guide; also appears in print on B2, July 27.

UNCONTESTED RACES

State Senate: J. Kalani English (District 7); Breene Harimoto (D16)
State House: Cindy Evans (D7); Karl A. Rhoads (D29); Romy M. Cachola (D30); Ty J.K. Cullen (D39); Marcus R. Oshiro (D46); Ken Ito (D49)
Hawaii County: Dennis M. Onishi (D3); Dru Mamo Kanuhana (D7)
Maui County: Riki Hokama (Lanai); Stacy Crivello (Molokai)

DISQUALIFIED CANDIDATES

Governor-Nonpartisan: Misty Davis; Khis Dejean Caldwell; Richard Morse; Joseph R. Spatola
Maui Mayor: Neldon E. "AZD" Mamuad

The primaries for governor and U.S. Senate will test long-standing trends in Hawaii politics that reward incumbents. Since statehood no incumbent governor has lost re-election since William Quinn, a Republican, in 1962, while no incumbent U.S. senator -- appointed or elected -- has lost an election.

Hanabusa's decision to challenge Schatz has created a vacancy in urban Honolulu's 1st Congressional District. Several Democrats, including state Senate President Donna Mercado Kim and state Rep. K. Mark Takai, are competing in the primary to replace Hanabusa.

Former U.S. Rep. Charles Djou, a Republican who once held the seat after a special election in 2010 but lost to Hanabusa in 2010 and 2012, is waiting for the Democratic winner in November.

The two primaries for lieutenant governor, meanwhile, will produce nominees that could influence the governor's race this fall.

Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui, the former state Senate president who ascended to the post when Schatz was appointed to the Senate, is being challenged by state Sen. Clayton Hee, chairman of the Senate Judiciary and Labor Committee, who scored a string of recent legislative victories on a minimum wage increase, land conservation at Turtle Bay Resort and marriage equality.

Mary Zanakis, a former television reporter, is a long shot.

On the Republican side, Elwin Ahu, a former judge and a senior pastor at New Hope Metro, is up against Warner Kimo Sutton, a renewable energy entrepreneur and longtime party activist.

An Ahu victory and partnership with Aiona, a Catholic opposed to gay marriage, would make it almost certain that marriage equality and other social issues would be themes in the governor's race.

A Look Back: Important Governor's Races

1959: Republican Gov. William F. Quinn defeats Democratic challenger John A. Burns in the first state election.

1962: Democrat Burns wins over incumbent Gov. Quinn.

William F. Quinn, left, and John A. Burns in 1959. (Photo: Star-Advertiser / File)

1966: Incumbent Gov. Burns bests Republican state Sen. Randolph Crossley.

1970: Burns defeats former Family Court Judge Sam King, a Republican.

1974: Former Lt. Gov. George Ariyoshi, a Democrat, bests former GOP state Sen. Crossley.

1978: Incumbent Gov. Ariyoshi comes out ahead of Republican state Sen. John Leopold.

1982: Democrat Ariyoshi wins over Independent Democrat Frank Fasi, former Honolulu mayor, and GOP state Sen. D.G. "Andy" Anderson.

1986: Lt. Gov. John Waihee, a Democrat, defeats Republican Anderson.

1990: Incumbent Gov. Waihee bests former Republican state Rep. Fred Hemmings.

1994: Lt. Gov. Ben Cayetano, a Democrat, wins over former GOP U.S. Rep. Pat Saiki.

1998: Incumbent Gov. Cayetano comes out ahead of Maui Mayor Linda Lingle.

2002: Former Maui Mayor Lingle, a Republican, defeats Democratic Lt. Gov. Mazie Hirono.

2006: Incumbent Gov. Lingle bests former state Sen. and City Councilman Randy Iwase, a Democrat.

2010: Former U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie, a Democrat, defeats GOP Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona.

Browse by Office

Candidates with an asterisk (*) are incumbents. Uncontested and disqualified candidates are not included as part of the guide.

POLITICAL KEY (D) Democrat. (R) Republican. (I) Independent. (L) Libertarian. (G) Green. (N) Nonpartisan.

 

The Primary Election Guide

Published July 27, 2014, The Primary Election Guide is the first of two guides during an election year. We've provided a replica of the print edition for reference. Corrections and clarifications after the guide was sent to press appear on the website. View it now »