Doing the impossible: Can anyone beat Daniel Inouye?

How do you unseat one of the most beloved politicians in Hawaii’s history?  How do you beat someone who has helped steer millions of dollars towards Hawaii’s economy?  Those are some of the questions facing the candidates running for the US Senate against incumbent, Daniel Inouye.  Last week we introduced you to them.  This time we figure out where things will fall.

Sen. Dan Inouye is seeking to remain as the most senior member of the US Senate

Daniel Inouye became the President Pro-Tempore of the US Senate upon the death of long-time friend and colleague, Robert Byrd.  It is a position with considerable power and puts him fourth in the line of succession for the Presidency of the United States.  Inouye has held the position of US Senator since 1962.  He has served eight consecutive terms in Senate and is currently the most senior member.  Inouye served in the famous 442nd Regimental Combat Team during World War II.  He earned the distinguished Medal of Honor for his service.

During his time in the Senate, Inouye has gotten numerous measures through Congress which help Hawaii’s people.  He has provided over $40 million for the Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center in Hilo.  He has also secured $17 million for the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyards.  Having established himself as the king of the earmark, it will be very difficult for any of the candidates this election to unseat Sen. Inouye due to the large amounts of money he brings into the state.

The only Democratic challenger to Inouye, Andy Woerner is looking to pull off a Cinderella type effort to gain the nomination.  A political novice, Woerner resides on the Big Island of Hawaii with his wife and child.  He is an Operational Manager for a scuba diving company.  He credits the campaign and election of Barack Obama in 2008 for his sudden urge to run for office.  He has admitted that he knows little about the insider games of Washington D.C.  However, he pledged to fight for the forgotten voices of the electorate.  Woerner is not expected to do much against the popular Inouye.

Woerner is making waves with his push for term limits and an overhaul of the campaign finance laws.  He echoes the familiar tones of the Republican Revolution of 1994 in his attempt to impose some sort of term limits for Congress.  He has already signed a contract to serve no more than two terms in office.  Woerner would like to see an increase in the transparency of campaign finances.  He currently points to the recent Supreme Court decision which allowed corporations to donate money to politicians under the same rules as an individual citizen.  It will be interesting to see just how much support he will receive.

Lloyd Jeffrey Mallan is the lone Libertarian candidate for US Senate.  Mallan currently serves as Project Manager for Artful Expressions of Hawaii, an internet marketing firm.  Having earned a bachelor’s degree from Penn State University, Mallan has a history in theater and music.  The Libertarian is looking to capture a Ron Paul following with his ideas running parallel to the popular Texas Congressman.  Mallan runs on the traditional Libertarian principles of eliminating all taxes, privatizing all government services including the police force and prisons, and reducing the size of the military.

Heading the charge for the Republican Party is Cam Cavasso.  Cavasso served as State Representative for district 51 on Oahu from 1985-1991.  The former State Rep. has been the financial advisor at Mass Mutual Financial Group for the last 22 years.  Cavasso also owns a small farm in the Waimanalo area.  Cavasso has launched a social media campaign with Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and utilizing Foursquare as a way to meet him.  The move is an attempt to get the votes of the tech savvy crowd and younger generation.  Cavasso is the favorite for the GOP nomination but will need to expand his base in order to close the gap with the Democrats.  He runs on a platform of immediate cuts in payroll taxes, a federal balanced budget amendment to the constitution, and a return to traditional values.

Republican John Roco is also a political newcomer.  A conservative, Roco works as a social worker for young children.  He has previously worked as an instructor at San Bernadino Valley College.  Roco is a strong Catholic and points to his faith as the reason he has decided to run for office.  He is the obvious underdog against Cavasso but will rely on his traditional conservative roots to gain support within the Republican Party.  Roco has a platform aimed at extending all of the Bush tax cuts, defining marriage as between a man and a woman, and repealing the recent healthcare reforms.

The Democratic primary will likely shape up with Sen. Inouye winning by a land slide.  It is expected that he will face Cam Cavasso in the November general election.  Inouye will enter the contest with a sizeable advantage in funding and will have his years of service in our nation’s capitol on his side.  Inouye is probably the most liked politician in Hawaii and it will be a near miracle if anyone were to unseat him.  Cavasso will put up a good fight, however, Inouye will be reelected and will have another term to add to his legacy as the “King of the Earmark.”

Don’t forget to join us next week as we take a shot at handicapping the races for Honolulu Mayor and Hawaii Governor.  It should make for some interesting conversations at the water cooler.

Get Involved: Complacency breeds Incompetence!

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