The race for the next governor of Hawaii has just picked up some steam. Honolulu Mayor, Mufi Hannemann, officially announced his candidacy during a rally held at Fern Elementary School where he attended as a child. It had been long speculated that he would indeed enter the race for the Democratic nomination. However, he had previously avoided the topic and repeatedly spoke about focusing on his current role as Honolulu’s Mayor.
Mayor Hannemann had faced similar questions regarding the 2010 governor’s race while seeking reelection in 2008. He never officially stated that he would not run for the office. Hannemann’s candidacy for the Democratic nomination would require him to step down as Mayor per the Hawaii State Constitution. The vacancy would then require a special election to find his successor. Currently, there is a sizable pool of candidates to choose from. Among some of the candidates for the Honolulu Mayor’s office are 2008 candidate Panos Prevedouros, Honolulu City Councilman Rod Tam, City Prosecutor Peter Carlisle, and city Managing Director Kirk Caldwell.
With Mayor Hannemann officially entering the race, the primary election is shaping up to be a real battle between two of Hawaii’s Democratic heavyweights. Mayor Hannemann will be looking to best former U.S. Representative, Neil Abercrombie. This contest will not be new to either men. The two had previously battled for the special election of 1986 to fill Hawaii’s 1st Congressional District. It proved to one of the more memorable and negative political battles in Hawaii’s history. The special election saw Abercrombie get the best of Hanneman yet fall to the future Mayor during the primary. Hannemann would later lose to Republican Pat Saiki.
Mayor Hannemann joins the list of gubernatorial hopefuls that include Mr. Abercrombie and current Lt. Gov. James Aiona. Aiona is the front-runner for the Republican nomination. Mayor Hannemann is perceived to have a funding advantage over both men. He was able to transfer roughly $600,000 from his 2008 mayoral campaign to his run for governor. Hannemann supporters opened a headquarters on Kauai along with endorsements from three major unions, and a campaign web site. Mayor Hannemann’s announcement could not have been more expected if he had spread the rumors himself.
The Hawaii 2010 gubernatorial race will be interesting to say the least. Hawaii voters will likely see a very intense battle to succeed Gov. Linda Lingle. Keep it to Desperate America Report for candidate profiles and elections news leading up to the September primaries and into the November general election.
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