Archive for October, 2011


October 19th, 2011

Business executive Herman Cain leads former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in the Republican presidential race in Hawaii, according to a new Public Policy Polling survey.

Cain had 36 percent, while Romney had 24 percent.

The automated telephone survey was taken among 293 Hawaii Republicans from Oct. 13 to Oct. 16. The margin of error was 5.7 percentage points.

The Hawaii Republican caucuses are on March 13.


October 19th, 2011

A new Public Policy Polling survey shows U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono in a close race with former congressman Ed Case in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate.

The poll has Hirono at 45 percent and Case at 40 percent. The margin of error was 5.1 percentage points among the Democratic voters surveyed.

Hirono is up over former Gov. Linda Lingle, a Republican, 48 percent to 42 percent in a hypothetical general election match-up. Lingle is up over Case 45 percent to 43 percent. The margin of error for the larger sample of voters was 4.1 percentage points.

The automated telephone poll was taken among 568 voters – including 368 usual Democrats – from Oct. 13 to Oct. 16.

“This race has become far more competitive since PPP last polled it in March,” Dean Debnam, president of Public Policy Polling, said in a statement. “Linda Lingle’s candidacy does give Republicans a chance for a pick up that would be devastating to Democratic hopes of holding onto the Senate.”

A Public Policy Polling survey in March showed Case up over Lingle by 17 percentage points and Hirono up over Lingle by 12 points.

Case has said that one of the most important questions for Democratic voters is which candidate can beat Lingle in the general election. He has suggested that Hirono — who lost to Lingle in the 2002 governor’s race after beating Case in the primary — would be unable to defeat the former governor.


October 17th, 2011

There was some surprise in political circles that former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann had a slightly higher fundraising total over the past quarter than U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono.

Hannemann, who is running in the Democratic primary in Hirono’s 2nd Congressional District, collected more than $306,000. Hirono, who is running in the higher-profile Democratic primary for U.S. Senate, collected more than $302,000.

But there is a wrinkle: Hannemann’s take includes a $12,000 personal loan to his campaign.

(Honolulu City Councilwoman Tulsi Gabbard, Hannemann’s rival, loaned her campaign $14,857 during the past quarter.)


October 14th, 2011

U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono has raised more than $300,000 over the past three months for her Democratic primary campaign for U.S. Senate, according to a summary of her quarterly federal campaign-finance report..

The Hawaii Democrat has more than $722,450 in cash on hand.

Hirono continues to lead her primary rival, former congressman Ed Case, in fundraising.

Case said in a statement that his campaign had raised $136,000 in the past quarter and had $272,000 in cash on hand.

Former Gov. Linda Lingle said she hopes to raise $8 million to $10 million for her Republican campaign.

Hirono, in a conference call with reporters, said she will raise enough to be competitive but would not disclose a specific target. She said Lingle had never run for a federal office before and had never run during a presidential election year.

*Update: Hirono said she believes voters are disappointed with Lingle. “The way she went out and campaigned for Sarah Palin (for vice president) and identified herself with Sarah Palin, whereas I identify myself with the middle class, with the working people, with the families that are struggling. My campaign is focused on those voters.”

Case said Hirono, as an incumbent congresswoman, has an advantage when fundraising.

“Washington politicians always have a built-in advantage when it comes to raising money for political campaigns,” he said. “Mazie is no different as we can see by her most recent campaign spending report.  She started with around $350,000 in the bank from contributions to her House campaign and has asked for even more Mainland special interest money.

“We have a better way.  Our campaign supporters are right here in Hawaii.  More support from local voters means that we can go to Washington representing only the people of Hawaii, accomplishing the change we all want.”

*Correction: A version of this blog post incorrectly said that Hirono was disappointed with Lingle as governor.

Toss up

October 13th, 2011

The Cook Political Report on Thursday moved the Hawaii U.S. Senate race from “solid Democrat” to a “toss up,” one of the battleground campaigns in the fight to control the Senate.

Former Gov. Linda Lingle’s announcement this week that she will enter the Republican primary put the state into play.

U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono and former congressman Ed Case, the Democratic contenders, still have the advantage in traditionally blue Hawaii to replace U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, who is not seeking another term.

But political analysts now see the campaign as much more competitive.

The Cook rating will likely help Lingle with national fundraising, since it is an independent assessment of her chances. National Democrats may also take a second look at their assumptions about the race and how much will be necessary to defend the seat.

From Cook:

The 23 Democratic-held Senate seats on the ballot next year provide Republicans with a target-rich environment of races in GOP-leaning and swing states. Solidly blue Hawaii should not be a likely candidate for a spot on that list of targets. But, Republicans have managed to recruit the one GOP candidate who can make this race competitive. And, with former Gov. Linda Lingle’s announcement this week that she would run for the seat being vacated by Democratic Sen. Dan Akaka, this race moves from the Solid Democratic column to Toss Up.

In her announcement and in a series of media interviews Tuesday, Lingle focused on the need to create jobs and work toward economic recovery. She is very cognizant that President Obama will be on the ballot and worked to strike a balance, saying that she has supported some of his policies and has opposed others. She does not believe that he has done enough, or the right things to improve the economy….In addition, Lingle also stressed that her time as Governor would serve her well in the Senate. She told an audience in August, “Governors bring a particularly different approach in the United States Senate than those people who have come just from the legislative side. … They are less ideological. They are more practical. They are more agenda driven. They are able to put forth something they’d like to achieve and then move to do it because as governor you have to. You can’t hide behind a lot of other people.” She added that bipartisanship is the only way to move the country forward. Finally, she was careful to praise Akaka for his service to the state, noting that he embodies the spirit of aloha.

A Case-Hirono race will be one of contrasts that will pit Case’s more moderate views against Hirono’s more liberal positions and voting record. Case is also making an electability argument, pointing out that Hirono has already lost to Lingle once and her candidacy offers voters little more than the status quo. He argues that if voters want change, they are more likely to vote for Lingle if Hirono is the Democratic nominee.  Based on recent history, the primary will be a hard-fought affair. A Ward Research poll (May 4-10 of 403 likely Democratic primary voters) showed a statistical tie with Case ahead of Hirono, 26 percent to 25 percent. ….While Democrats would undoubtedly prefer to anoint a nominee, nothing suggests that Case can be coaxed into dropping his bid. The fact that Hawaii holds its primary late in the cycle – it will be on August 11 next year – means that the nominee will have little time to regroup for the general election.

While Lingle’s numbers aren’t stellar in either survey, they also don’t reflect the reality of where this race is headed. Just about every two-term Governor leaves office much less popular than they were in their first term. Given the economic downturn, it’s not surprising that Lingle’s numbers have taken a significant hit. At the same time, nearly all former Governors recover in voters’ eyes, and we suspect that Lingle will as well.

All in all, Lingle is a solid campaigner and fundraiser with a record of accomplishment on which to run. She is the best candidate that Republicans could possibly hope for in a race in a solidly Democratic state. Whether she can overcome the challenges of running in a presidential year isn’t yet clear, but she will make this a race that Democrats hadn’t counted on having.

Hired guns

October 13th, 2011

Former congressman Ed Case announced on Wednesday that he had secured Lake Research Partners, a prominent national Democratic firm, to help him in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate against U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono.

Celinda Lake, the firm’s founder and president, is considered an influential Democratic strategist.

Case also picked up Olomana Marketing to deal with advertising and media, the firm than handled Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s successful campaign for governor last year.

Lloyd Nekoba, Case’s campaign manager, was a former senior adviser to Abercrombie and to former Gov. Ben Cayetano. He is also Case’s brother-in-law.

Case has been known in the past to follow his own instincts over the recommendations of consultants, but his choices for strategic help for this campaign ensure that he will get some top-notch advice.

Money, money

October 11th, 2011

Former Gov. Linda Lingle held her first major fundraiser for her Republican primary campaign for U.S. Senate at the Waialae Country Club on Tuesday night.

The governor hopes to raise $8 million to $10 million for her campaign. She raised a record $6 million for her re-election as governor in 2006.

At an luncheon address to the Sales and Marketing Executives International at the Pacific Club, Lingle also predicted that national interests would flood the state with more money next year than during the gubernatorial and congressional races in 2010.

I’m sorry to tell you all this, I think it will be worse than it was last November, because the majority in the United States Senate is at stake, and this will be one of the races that people are going to follow all across the country.

And it will be worse on both sides. So people who want to support the Democrat, whoever that is, they’re going to start attacking, and likely they would attack me earlier, because I won’t have as difficult a primary as the Democrats will. So they will want to come in and start just making attacks against me and my record.

But once we move into the general election period, I think groups on both sides will do it, so you’ll likely have labor union groups from the mainland spending a lot of money in the state. You’ll have business groups from the mainland spending a lot of money in the state. And all kinds of groups, we don’t even know who they are.

And I think you should all know that the candidates on both sides – we’re not allowed to ever even talk to those groups – it’s called uncoordinated versus coordinated effort. It’s against the law for us to coordinate with any of those groups.

U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono and former congressman Ed Case, the Democratic contenders for Senate, do not expect to match Lingle in fundraising. But both Democrats used Lingle’s campaign announcement on Tuesday to solicit money from donors.

From Hirono:

The press and pundits are already talking about how this announcement “put[s] Hawaii in play” for the GOP’s drive to take back the U.S. Senate in 2012, given Lingle’s extensive fundraising network.

But I’ve got something even better than Lingle’s corporate-backed funders. I’ve got you.

And I need your help, today, to stand up, fight back, and send Linda Lingle a message about our strong grassroots support.

From Case:

Linda said today she would raise and spend $8-$10 million on her campaign. My response was that she will be so deeply obligated to D.C. special interest money that there’s no way she will contribute to the change we all want. But, we need to ask you for your support now to take our message of Change with a D across Hawaii.

Lingle push

October 11th, 2011

Former Gov. Linda Lingle dropped by the Perry & Price radio show Tuesday morning and made it official: she will enter the Republican primary for U.S. Senate.

Lingle, who would join four other governors in the Senate if elected, will stress her chief executive experience in her campaign. She described governors as “very practical people because we had to get things done as governors.”

She also said she would be an independent voice for Hawaii. “I want to be real clear on this point: I don’t work for (Senate Minority Leader) Mitch McConnell, and for that matter I don’t work for President Obama. I work for the people of Hawaii,” she said.

“And if there is a law being proposed, whether it’s from the president or from Mitch McConnell, if it’s good for Hawaii I’m for it. If it’s not good for us, I’m against it regardless of who introduces it.”

Lingle said her campaign manager will be Robert Lee, the former state adjutant general.

Lingle will face John Carroll, an attorney and former state lawmaker, in the GOP primary. U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, and former U.S. Rep. Ed Case are the Democratic contenders to replace U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, who is not seeking another term next year.

From Lingle’s official announcement:

I always enjoyed working with Senator Akaka during my eight years as Governor. He always treated me with aloha even though we belonged to different political parties. Senator Akaka embodied the spirit of Aloha in Washington, D.C. and served the people of Hawaii with grace and dignity for 34 years.

I am very appreciative of the encouragement I have received from our residents across the state about my run for Hawaii’s open U.S. Senate seat.  Because of this support, and after much thoughtful deliberation, I am energized and enthusiastic about the opportunity to serve all the people of Hawaii in Washington. If elected, first, foremost and always, my decisions will put Hawaii people first as we decide the critical issues facing our state and country.

National Democrats will highlight Lingle’s ties to former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

Lingle, who knew Palin from the Republican Governors Association, spoke warmly of Palin when she was the GOP vice presidential nominee in 2008 and helped introduce her at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn.

From Matt Canter, a spokesman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee:

Today marks Linda Lingle’s biggest announcement since she nominated Sarah Palin for Vice President, an event that typifies Lingle’s partisan Republican approach to governing. Now Lingle wants to go to Washington to become a rubber-stamp for Mitch McConnell and the Republican party whose sole priority is to defeat President Obama at every turn.


October 11th, 2011

Big Island Democratic groups have filed suit against the state Reapportionment Commission arguing that the inclusion of non-permanent residents favors Oahu and denies the shifting of a state Senate seat to their island.

The lawsuit, electronically filed Monday with the state Supreme Court, challenges the new political boundary maps drawn to reflect changes in the state’s population over the past decade.

It asks that the current plan for apportioning the state’s 25 Senate seats be declared invalid and that a new plan be drafted.

“The final Senate plan is based on the Reapportionment Commission’s use of the wrong population base and, as a consequence, improperly apportions the seats of the state Senate …” denying Hawaii County a fourth Senate seat, the lawsuit states.

Critics contend the state commission erred by including more than 64,000 nonresident military members, dependents and students in the base population. Commissioners said they did not feel they had enough information to accurately extract those residents from the population base.

Based on public statements, Reapportionment Commission Chairwoman Victoria Marks had said she expected a legal challenge and asked commission staff to prepare alternate maps to give the court alternatives if it determined that new maps were needed. The other alternative would be to appoint a special master to draw new maps.

Marks said the commission did the best it could with the information it had.

The lawsuit was filed by Hilo attorney Stanley Roehrig, a former state representative, on behalf of Sen. Malama Solomon and members of the Hawaii County Committee of the state Democratic Party. Defendants are Gov. Neil Abercrombie, Chief Elections Officer Scott Nago, the Office of Elections and members of the Reapportionment Commission.

New Look

October 10th, 2011

The website for the Hawaii State Capitol Legislature is sporting a new look.

Check it out at:

The new design was rolled out last week. The new site appears to be more interactive and user-friendly for those who may not have been used to accessing state government.

Bill histories are cleaner, with all aspects of the legislation — testimony, committee reports, etc. — all linked on the same page. There also are one-click links to find a list of legislators, committees and reports.

Some features, such as the bill tracker and testimony submission, require the creation of a user account.

Current hearings are broken out on the main page and for those who don’t know who their lawmakers are, there’s a search box in the upper right.

All that said, the real test of the new design will come in January, once the 2012 Regular Session begins.