Archive for September, 2010

Staying put

September 30th, 2010

State Rep. Kymberly Pine (R-Ewa Beach, Iroquois Point, Puuloa), said today that she does not plan to run for the Honolulu City Council seat being vacated by council chairman Todd Apo in November.

Pine had earlier expressed some interest in the seat when Apo’s term expires in 2012. She said she is concentrating on her re-election campaign to the state House, where she faces Jason Bradshaw, the political director of the AFL-CIO.

“I’m not going to run for the City Council in the special election,” Pine said.

Cutting the Checks

September 29th, 2010

As reported today in The Fix (by the Washington Post) Hawaii’s 1st Congressional District is among a dozen CDs nationwide where the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is spending without a presence by its counterpart, the National Republican Congressional Committee.

The DCCC already is on air with its “90 Percent” ad targeting incumbent U.S. Rep. Charles Djou, and you can expect more ads in the near future as Djou faces state Senate President Colleen Hanabusa in the general election.


Final summary

September 29th, 2010

The state Office of Elections today released a final summary of primary election results, which include provisional ballots. Former U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie beat former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann in the Democratic primary for governor statewide and took Oahu, the Big Island and Maui. The former congressman lost to Hannemann on Kauai by just eight votes.

Abercrombie: 142,304 (59.3%)
Hannemann: 90,590 (37.7%)

Abercrombie: 103,012 (61.2%)
Hannemann: 60,229 (35.8%)

Big Island
Abercrombie: 19,781 (59.6%)
Hannemann: 12,688 (38.3%)

Abercrombie: 12,478 (52.3%)
Hannemann: 10,632 (44.5%)

Hannemann: 7,041 (47.9%)
Abercrombie: 7,033 (47.8%)

HI fashion

September 28th, 2010

Just what will the cool kids think of next?


September 27th, 2010

The Republican Governors Association has pumped another $163,000 into helping Lt. Gov. James “Duke” Aiona in his GOP campaign for governor — for a total of more than $768,000 so far.

The new spending, which is not coordinated with the Aiona campaign, includes a glossy brochure mailed to voters with the “Rise & Shine Hawaii” theme.

The Rundown (post-primary)

September 27th, 2010

Here is an updated rundown of potentially competitive state House and Senate races for the November general election. We have dropped several races that were likely settled in the primary and have updated our assessments of others, based on interviews with political analysts and insiders.

Overview: Majority Democrats hold an overwhelming share of seats in the state House and Senate. Democrats have made gains in the past few election cycles under Gov. Linda Lingle — a Republican — and could again this year, especially if Democrats drive turnout in the governor’s race. Republicans have set the modest goal of doubling their numbers in both chambers. With a handful of open seats in competitive districts — and the potential for the civil-unions debate to bring religious conservatives to the polls — Republicans have a chance to pick up a few seats.

State Senate:
Democrats: 23
Republicans: 2

State House:
Democrats: 45
Republicans: 6

State Senate
*SD20 (Ewa Beach, Waipahu)
Sen. Will Espero (D)
(Total raised: $59,587)
Tito Montes (R)
(Total raised: $15,420)
Outlook: Leans Democratic. Espero has raised his profile on issues such as rail, returning prisoners from the Mainland, and restricting fireworks. The district’s changing demographics from new housing projects could make it more competitive for the GOP. Montes, a Navy veteran and military research analyst, is an articulate and aggressive campaigner who may appeal to many young families and people with military ties who are concerned about the economy. Montes will need to step up fundraising to compete.

*SD24 (Kailua, Kaneohe)
Sen. Jill Tokuda (D)
(Total raised: $80,528)
Tracy Bean (R)
(Total raised: $39,777)
Outlook: Leans Democratic. Tokuda has blossomed over the past few years and has earned praise for her work on protecting important agricultural land, Native Hawaiian affairs, and the University of Hawaii. She also led an investigation into mismanagement at the Bureau of Conveyances and was one of the leading critics who helped block the second confirmation of Peter Young as director at the state Department of Land and Natural Resources. But the district is among the most competitive in the Senate, and Tokuda could be vulnerable in her first re-election campaign, particularly if voters make civil unions a dominant issue. Bean, like Tokuda, was raised on the Windward side. She runs a nonprofit with her husband and is part of a network of religious conservatives who oppose civil unions.

*SD25 (Kailua, Waimanalo, Hawaii Kai)
Virginia Enos (R)
(Total raised: $11,402)
Pohai Ryan (D)
(Total raised: $14,325)
Outlook: Open seat. Leans Republican. Senate Minority Leader Fred Hemmings opted not to seek re-election. Enos is a Kailua Neighborhood Board member. Ryan is a staffer to state Sen. Brickwood Galuteria.

State House
*HD4 (Puna, Pahoa, Hawaiian Acres)
Rep. Faye Hanohano (D)
(Total raised: $19,082)
Marlene Hapai (R)
(Total raised: $22,575)
Solomon Singer (N)
(Total raised: $2,654, including $700 in loans)
Outlook: Leans Democratic. Hanohano, a former prison guard, is chairwoman of the House Public Safety Committee. She is active on Native Hawaiian affairs and cultural issues, often speaking Hawaiian on the House floor. She also helped move a bill last session to give counties the option to ban fireworks. But changing demographics in the fast-growing region, along with the independent spirit of many residents, makes the district among the most quirky and unpredictable. Hapai, a former University of Hawaii regent appointed by Gov. Linda Lingle, could be competitive.

*HD6 (N. Kona, Keauhou, Kailua-Kona)
Rep. Denny Coffman (D)
(Total raised: $20,913)
Becky Leau (R)
(Total raised: $7,436, including $2,029 in loans)
Outlook: Leans Democratic. Coffman was among the freshmen who crafted a barrel tax increase on petroleum products to help finance food security and alternative energy programs. The district is friendly to Republicans and could be hard for Coffman to hold if the GOP runs strong in Kona in the governor’s race. Leau, a contractor, is active with religious conservatives and may get support from the local tea party.

*HD11 (Makena, Wailea, Kihei)
Rep. Joe Bertram III (D)
(Total raised: $8,934)
George Fontaine (R)
(Total raised: $11,774)
Outlook: Tossup. Bertram was thought to be the most endangered House incumbent in 2008, when he raised little money for his first re-election campaign and alienated House leadership by publicly stating he would not vote for House Speaker Calvin Say for speaker if he won. He has since been criticized for defending a friend on trial for Internet enticement of a minor and has declared bankruptcy for the second time because of medical expenses and tax debts. His signature issues have been expanding access to medical marijuana and promoting bike paths and greenways. Fontaine, a retired police captain, was one of the Republicans’ best prospects two years ago.

*HD18 (Kuliouou, Niu Valley, Aina Haina)
Mark Jun Hashem (D)
(Total raised: $13,555, including $10,000 in loans)
Chris Pei-Ji Baron (R)
(Total raised: $26,967)
Outlook: Open seat. Leans Republican. Rep. Lyla Berg left to run in the Democratic primary for lieutenant governor. Baron, a state clean energy planner who worked for homeland security, the State Department and the National Security Council in the Bush administration, grew up in the Republican friendly district. He also has Hawaii Christian Coalition backing. Hashem surprised many Democrats by winning the primary.

*HD28 (Palama, Chinatown, Downtown)
Rep. Karl Rhoads (D)
(Total raised: $88,387)
David Chang (R)
(Total raised: $50,741)
Outlook: Leans Democratic. Rhoads, an attorney, steered the House Labor Committee during a difficult few years and did much of the heavy lifting on a bill to soften an unemployment insurance tax increase on businesses. But Republicans believe Chang — an entrepreneur, military veteran and minister named the Young Business Leader of the Year by Pacific Business News — has a shot.

*HD36 (Pearl City, Momilani, Pacific Palisades)

Rep. Roy Takumi (D)
(Total raised: $56,928)
Reed Shiraki (R)
(Total raised: $21,644)
Outlook: Democratic. Takumi is the respected chairman of the House Education Committee and the district has been a fortress for traditional Democrats. Republicans, however, warn against counting out the underdog Shiraki, a prominent chiropractor known for an honor box payment system to help his patients afford care. Shiraki is also a Mormon who has the support of the Hawaii Christian Coalition, which could bring civil unions into play.

*HD41 (Waipahu, Village Park, Waikele)
Ty Cullen (D)
(Total raised: $13,615, including $5,965 in loans)
Carl Wong (R)
(Total raised: $100 in loans)
Outlook: Open seat. Tossup. Rep. Jon Riki Karamatsu is leaving to run in the Democratic primary for lieutenant governor. Competitive precincts in Village Park and Waikele make this a potential swing district.

*HD42 (Waipahu, Honouliuli, Ewa)
Rep. Rida Cabanilla (D)
(Total raised: $20,392)
Tom Berg (R)
(Total raised: -$8,836)
Outlook: Leans Democratic. Cabanilla became more visible on policy issues such as helping the homeless as chairwoman of the House Housing Committee. But she had to be rescued by House leaders after mishandling a bill to allow flagpoles to fly the American flag in planned communities, a controversy that energized many military veterans and conservatives. Berg is Cabanilla’s former office manager who now works for Rep. Kymberly Pine, a Ewa Beach Republican who was behind the flagpole bill. A rematch of 2008.

*HD43 (Ewa Beach, Iroquois Point, Puuloa)
Rep. Kymberly Pine (R)
(Total raised: $47,264)
Jason Bradshaw (D)
(Total raised: $20,885)
Outlook: Leans Republican. Pine, a former Republican aide, has been an organizer for tea party and anti-tax rallies. She was also the only House lawmaker to vote against diverting money from the state’s hurricane relief fund to help end teacher furloughs. Pine wanted to borrow, not take, money from the hurricane fund. Plugged into her demographically shifting district, Pine won re-election in 2008 with more than 70 percent of the vote and took 63.5 percent in 2006. Bradshaw, a former Democratic aide, is political director of the AFL-CIO and has shown some fundraising ability. His message? “We can do better!”

*HD45 (Waianae, Makaha, Makua)
Rep. Maile Shimabukuro (D)
(Total raised: $17,222)
Jadeen Meyers (R)
(Total raised: $7,596)
Outlook: Democratic. Shimabukuro, a legal aid attorney who grew up in Waianae, has been an advocate for human services and Native Hawaiian affairs and is well-connected in the Democratic leaning district. But the district is known for low voter turnout. Republicans think Meyers, who was also raised in Waianae and who serves as an associate youth pastor at a Christian church where her parents are pastors, could pull an upset, especially if civil unions becomes an issue.

*HD46 (Schofield, Mokuleia, North Shore)
Larry Sagaysay (D)
(Total raised: $10,845)
Gil Riviere (R)
(Total raised: $22,267)
Outlook: Open seat. Leans Republican. Rep. Michael Magaoay is leaving to run in the Democratic primary for the state Senate. Riviere, a mortgage broker and leader of Keep the North Shore Country, could take a district that has been slowly trending Republican.

*HD47 (Laie, Hauula, Punaluu)
Rep. Jessica Wooley (D)
(Total raised: $44,478)
Richard Fale (R)
(Total raised: $17,763)
Outlook: Leans Democratic. Wooley, an attorney, is a progressive who is active on issues such as food and energy security. She has also been an advocate for Hawaiian families who were facing eviction from Kahana Valley State Park. She is in her first re-election campaign after defeating Colleen Meyer, the most conservative Republican in the House, two years ago. Her opponent, Richard Fale, is in the Army reserve and operates a nonprofit on Polynesian culture. He also farms. Fale is a Mormon who could draw votes from Laie and other precincts that reliably went with the conservative Meyer in the past.

Obama `dem

September 25th, 2010

President Obama has stepped up with an e-mail appeal to help state Senate President Colleen Hanabusa in her rematch against U.S. Rep. Charles Djou, R-Hawaii, in urban Honolulu’s 1st Congressional District in November.

National Democrats have circled the traditionally Democratic district as a potential pick-up after Djou claimed it in a May special election to fill out the remaining term of former U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie.

From the Hawaii-born president:

In just 20 months, this movement has accomplished a tremendous amount.

But we couldn’t have done it without the Democrats in Congress who were willing to take a stand and fight for policies that would move America forward.

And with so much still left to be done, and too many families struggling to get by, we need to keep America moving forward — which means I need you to support Colleen Hanabusa for Congress.

Just like in 2008, you can make the difference this year.

You can go door to door to ask folks to support Colleen. You can make calls to voters in your area, and make sure they get to the polls. And you can spread the word about the importance of voting for Colleen Hanabusa to your family, friends, and neighbors.

Click here to join Colleen’s campaign.

With so much at stake right now, we cannot afford to let up — for one minute or one election.

With your help we developed our Vote 2010 strategy — and with your help, we’ll make sure to send Colleen Hanabusa to Washington to fight for you and your district, Hawaii’s 1st.

If Republicans win in November, their agenda is simple: take us backward to the failed policies of the last decade.

They would seek to repeal all the work we’ve done, and try to stop us from doing more.

They’ll fight to repeal health insurance reform that is ensuring a family with a sick child doesn’t worry about an insurance company denying them care when they need it most.

They’ll do everything they can to repeal Wall Street reform that puts you, the consumer, first and prevents big banks from irresponsibly gambling with our savings ever again.

And they’ll work to block our efforts to jump-start a clean-energy economy, reform our broken immigration system, and get more Americans back to work.

We cannot let that happen, and that’s why we all need to fight to get Colleen Hanabusa to Washington, to keep America — and Hawaii — moving forward:

Sign up to show your support for Colleen:

`In absentia’

September 24th, 2010

Lt. Gov. James “Duke” Aiona held a news conference today to again chide former U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie for not accepting his challenge for six one-hour debates on public-policy issues in their campaign for governor.

Today, under Aiona’s proposal, would have been the first debate on jobs and the economy.

“I have yet to get a response from him and, as such, here were are,” the Republican candidate told reporters at his campaign headquarters. “I guess you could say it’s `in absentia.’ I am here in absentia of Neil Abercrombie, waiting to debate on jobs and economy.”

Laurie Au, a spokeswoman for the Abercrombie campaign, said the Democratic candidate has so far agreed to two televised debates and several forums. She said the two televised debates are Oct. 14 on PBS’s “Insights” and Oct. 22 on KITV.

Aiona said he is in discussions with television stations and others about debates and forums with Abercrombie but had not yet committed to any specific dates.

*Update: Travis Taylor, a spokesman for the Aiona campaign, said tonight: “We have conditionally accepted the KITV debate.”

*Update I: The two campaigns announced on Saturday that they have agreed to a series of debates, including televised debates on PBS and KITV.

Fun with the Interwebs

September 23rd, 2010

Eric Ryan, a conservative activist in Ewa Beach known for his internal scraps with fellow Republicans, is aiming at Democrats in a new effort he calls “Save Ewa Beach.”

The targets: state Rep. Rida Cabanilla, state Sen. Will Espero and Jason Bradshaw, the AFL-CIO political director running against state Rep. Kymberly Pine, a Republican.

Pine may be vulnerable in November because of speculation that she may covet the Honolulu City Council seat being vacated by council chairman Todd Apo. Bradshaw is also getting help from his union brothers and sisters.

Ryan has reserved domain names — such as the fake — that divert people to the Save Ewa Beach website that bashes the three Democrats.

From Ryan:

Is this a partisan campaign, you may wonder? Not particularly. If Espero, Cabanilla and Bradshaw were NOT puppets of the political establishment with
a penchant for tax hiking, money wasting, and radical stands, then Save Ewa Beach wouldn’t be needed. It just so happens that in 2010 we have a clear
cut case of liberals versus conservatives in West Oahu and I care about the outcome.

Moreover, as Hawaii’s most infamous and relentless critic of Hawaii’s Republican Party over the past 20 years, I’m still committed to watching certain fake Republicans go down in flames in 2010. But as a registered non-candidate committee, Save Ewa Beach is completely independent from both parties, independent from candidates (some of whom I’ve actually done design work for), and independent from other groups and organizations. It’s something I think I’ll keep ramped up for as long as I live in Ewa, which should be forever.

Espero said he considers the website diversion a “hit piece” against the Democrats and an example of dishonest campaigning.

Party Tracker

September 23rd, 2010

It’s not all committee hearings and floor votes for members of Congress.

As a new website from the Sunlight Foundation points out, there are parties to get to, too! And not just social gatherings — the fund-raising kind.

The Foundation — which bills itself as a non-partisan, non-profit organization with the goal of using new and emerging technologies to provide transparency in government — offers a site called Party Time (, which tracks the Washington, D.C., party circuit.

It features a search engine that lets you query by beneficiary, host, venue name, entertainment type or other lawmakers mentioned.

From it, we find that U.S. Rep. Charles Djou has two fundraisers this week with the National Republican Congressional Committee.

His House colleague, U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono, has a fund-raising dinner coming up next month at Democratic National Headquarters.

Nothing on the radar for U.S. Sens. Dan Inouye and Dan Akaka.

One note about the invitations posted on the website:

The Sunlight Foundation posts invitations we receive from reputable anonymous sources. These documents are posted here as a public service in the interest of creating more transparency about the relationships between lobbyists and lawmakers. Sunlight is not responsible for the content of the invitations themselves (including erroneous information) or for verifying whether the events advertised in the invitations actually occurred.