Who will be Hawaii’s next Governor?

Today is the final installment in the week-long series covering the five most important races of 2010.  Desperate America Report and the Honolulu Coffee Party Examiner has saved the best and most important race for last.  It is the race everyone is talking about.  It is the race we all knew would be coming when the calendar turned from 2009 into 2010.  With current Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle term-limited, the voters of the Aloha State are set to find a replacement.  The field features the current Lt. Governor, a former US Congressman, and a former Honolulu Mayor.  The primary battle will be fierce with five Democrats in the race.  There is also a log jam on the Independent ticket with six candidates.  The Republican party will have a tough fight with the anointed replacement from the current administration, and a tough challenger from the past.  Let’s take a look at the candidates!

Current Lt. Governor, James “Duke” Aiona Jr., is the leading contender for the Republican nomination.  Aiona has served with the Lingle administration since their win in 2002.  He previously served as a Circuit Court judge and was a vital part in the creation of the Hawaii Drug Court Program.  Aiona also serves on the Board of Trustees for Saint Louis School.  The Lt. Governor runs on a platform of generating 70% of Hawaii’s power from clean energy before 2030, removing government interference in the private sector, and supporting the implementation of “Race to the Top” education reforms.

Challenging Aiona for the Republican nomination is former State Sen. John Carroll.  Carroll is up against the presumptive nominee but has vowed to make a race of it.  A former University of Hawaii football player, Carroll spent time as a Hawaiian Airlines pilot with more than 30 years serving with the pilots’ union.  Carroll spent four consecutive terms in the Hawaii House of Representatives before being elected to the State Senate.  His time spent in the Legislature propelled him to being elected as the chair of the Hawaii Republican Party.  Carroll runs on a platform of reduced taxes, eliminating the Jones Act, and increased transparency with government programs.

The battle to claim residence in Washington Palace will be long and grueling. However, it should make for exciting television.

Neil Abercrombie left his seat in the US Congress in December of 2009.  He held the Hawaii 1st CD seat for over 20 years.  Abercrombie arrived in Hawaii on September 1959.  He studied at the University of Hawaii earning a master’s degree in sociology and later a Ph.D. in American studies.  Abercrombie served in the State House from 1975-1979 and then in the State Senate from 1979-1986.  Abercrombie hopes to use his time in the House and his relationship with President Obama to steer Hawaii in the right direction.  He runs on a platform focused on investing in Hawaii’s crumbling infrastructure, creating a public-private partnership for green jobs, and investing in small businesses.

The main challenger to Abercrombie is former Honolulu Mayor, Mufi Hannemann.  The former mayor resigned from office on the final day to file candidacy papers for the 2010 election.  It had long been expected that Hannemann would run for governor even as he was seeking reelection as Honolulu Mayor in 2008.  Hannemann is a former Honolulu City Councilman and Council Chairman.  He also served as a special assistant to former Hawaii Governor, George Ariyoshi.  Hannemann runs on a platform of finishing the Honolulu Rail Transit program, begin eliminating waste and abuse in government within 90 days of taking office, and increased cooperation with all of the country mayors.

Also running for governor are Democrats: Art Reyes, Miles Shiratori, and Van Tanabe, as well as Independents: Dan Cunningham, Chris Britos, Anthony Clapes, Paul Manner, Thomas Pollard, and Grayson Wideman.

The primary race will be a fierce battle for the Democrats.  It will be interesting to see how close the final vote is between Abercrombie and Hannemann come September.  Desperate America Report and the Honolulu Coffee Party Examiner will be the places to visit as the elections get closer.  Join us on Monday as we begin the march to the September Primary by going in-depth into the race for the Lt. Governor.

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