Politics 2010: No love lost between two Dem gubernatorial candidates

By NICOLE DEBEVEC, United Press International
Democrat incumbent Daniel Inouye faces token opposition from dive shop manager Andy Woerner in the U.S. Senate primary. (UPI Photo/Kevin Dietsch)
Democrat incumbent Daniel Inouye faces token opposition from dive shop manager Andy Woerner in the U.S. Senate primary. (UPI Photo/Kevin Dietsch) | License Photo

Republican Gov. Linda Lingle's win in Democratic-dominated Hawaii in 2002 hasn't really improved the GOP's lot as Democrats still hold three of Hawaii's four congressional seats.

James "Duke" Aiona, the lieutenant governor under Lingle, is the odds-on favorite for the Republican nomination for the seat Democrats are itching to reclaim.


State Democrats, meanwhile, are concerned Saturday's primary -- the last one in the 2010 primary season -- will turn into a slugfest between Neil Abercrombie, the longtime 1st Congressional District representative, and Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann.

To say there is no love lost between the two is an understatement.

Abercrombie and Hannemann have a political rivalry going back nearly 25 year, to an election that produced a historically fluky result, CQ Politics reported. Abercrombie in September 1986 won a special election in the 1st Congressional District to fill the final months of the unexpired term of a Democratic incumbent who resigned to run for governor. But in the regularly scheduled primary the same day, Hannemann unseated Abercrombie by winning the Democratic nomination for the general election.


In their current faceoff, Abercrombie charged Hannemann's supporters are behind a pamphlet that charges Abercrombie mocks the faith-based community and supports initiatives Christians dislike, KITV, Honolulu, reported.

In a related radio ad, opponents to Abercrombie also tackle his support of gay unions, which Hannemann does not, and charged Abercrombie didn't subscribe to any religion. (Abercrombie later said he was, in fact, an Episcopalian.)

In the broadcast ad, Christians, many who normally would vote for Republican gubernatorial candidate James Duke Aiona, are urged to cross over in the primary election.

"Christians can make a difference now by voting in the Democratic primary. Please pull a Democratic ballot and vote for the acceptable candidate, Mufi Hannemann," the voice-over says.

Garret Hashimoto says the Hannemann campaign has been warning church groups that Republican front runner Aiona may not win in November, so religious conservative should vote for Hannemann who, as governor, would be more in line with their issues than Abercrombie.

Such a message isn't sitting well with Hawaii GOP Executive Director Dylan Nonaka, who is urging Republican voters to vote for Republicans in the primary election.

Meanwhile, the usually united labor sector has split on the Democratic gubernatorial public and private sector unions split endorsements between Abercrombie and Hannemann, prompting one union leader to write to members, asking for solidarity in backing Hannemann.


In May, Republican Charles Djou was elected to complete Abercrombie's term after the Democrat retired to focus on his campaign for governor.

Djou faces challenges from two Republicans in Saturday's primary, C. Kaui Jochanan Amsterdam, who ran for the congressional seat in 2008, and Realtor John Giuffre, indicated.

State Senate President Colleen Hanabusa and attorney Rafael Del Castillo are the Democratic candidates.

The Hill rates the 1st Congressional District race a toss-up because Djou won the special election in part because of Democratic party in-fighting. However, the party has united around Hanabusa.

In the 2nd Congressional District, incumbent Mazie Hirono is unopposed on the Democratic ticket.

Antonio Gimbernat, a community television producer, Ramsay Wharton, a former TV anchor, and John Willoughby, an airline pilot, filed to run in the Republican primary.

Democrat incumbent Daniel Inouye faces token opposition from dive shop manager Andy Woerner in the U.S. Senate race.

Former state Rep. Cam Cavasso, businessman and 2006 senatorial candidate Eddie Pirkowski and counselor John Roco filed to run on the Republican ticket.

Latest Headlines