Two prominent interest groups — the Hawaii Government Employees Association and the Sierra Club Hawaii chapter — announced endorsements on Wednesday for state House and Senate campaigns.
The state’s largest public-sector labor union sided with several challengers over incumbents and had a few other interesting picks, including dissidents over lawmakers loyal to House Speaker Calvin Say:
*Hawaii County Councilman Donald Ikeda over Sen. Gilbert Kahele in SD1.
*Sen. Brian Taniguchi over Sen. Carol Fukunaga in SD11.
*Former Rep. Alex Sonson over Sen. Clarence Nishihara in SD17.
*Nicole Velasco, who used to work for the state auditor, over Honolulu City Councilman Romy Cachola in HD30.
*Rep. K. Mark Takai over Rep. Heather Giugni in HD33.
*Former Sen. Eloise Tungpalan over former television reporter and U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye aide Gregg Takayama in HD34.
*Businessman Hanalei Aipoalani over Rep. Karen Awana in HD43.
*Rep. Jessica Wooley over House Majority Leader Pono Chong in HD48.
The influential environmental group also had some interesting choices:
*Former Sen. Lorraine Inouye over Sen. Malama Solomon in SD4.
*Fukunaga over Taniguchi in SD11.
*Laura Thielen, a director of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources under former Gov. Linda Lingle, over Sen. Pohai Ryan in SD25.
*Keiko Bonk, a former Hawaii County Councilwoman and an environmental activist, and Dwight Synan, a real estate broker, over Say in HD20.
*Takai over Giugni in HD33.
*Takayama over Tungpalan in HD34.
*Former Miss Hawaii Lauren Cheape, a Republican, over Jake Bradshaw, who served in the Navy and is active with young Democrats, in HD45.
*Wooley over Chong in HD48.