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Hawai'i Gubernatorial Candidates Up to the Challenges

Wayne Yoshioka

The race for Hawai’i Governor is heating up as the Democratic candidates develop their campaign strategies. HPR’s Wayne Yoshioka reports. 

Governor David Ige won a lopsided victory in the 2014 primary election.  He says it wasn’t a fluke.  It was a voters’ mandate …

“I don’t think anybody could win, sixty-plus percent to 30, and it be because they were voting against somebody.  Give me a break.”

Credit Wayne Yoshioka
Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa expects to win

Challenger, Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa, hopes to duplicate Ige’s primary election victory.

“I, of course, believe he’ll be a one-term governor – I wouldn’t be running.  But I would like to think the people will be voting for me.  Not necessarily against him because I represent what they wanna see in the governor.”

The incumbent, Ige, won his first statewide race in 2014 and remains undefeated as a legislator since 1986.

“I believe that the people of Hawai’i will vote for me again because I’m a proven leader; because they know that their lives are better than it was 3, 4 years ago.  I know that the people of Hawai'i appreciates our focus on getting things done.”

Democratic Challengers, in the past, have tried to win over Republican crossovers and young voters.  Hanabusa, who lost her first statewide race for a U-S Senate seat in 2014, knows where the swing votes are when voter turnout is low.

“The most important part of that challenge was learning a very important lesson and that’s why I look forward to campaigning on the neighbor islands.  Each island and certain parts of the island, too, they’re very unique and different.  What we need to do is to honor and respect each island.”

Both Ige and Hanabusa have expanded their campaign teams for a statewide primary election and are working toward a higher turnout.

(Ige) “I just look forward to the campaign.  You know, I’m energized by the fact that we have a terrific record and I know that the people of Hawai’i will make the right decision.”

(Hanabusa) “This is going to be a different kind of election because – as you know – the election laws have changed as to when you can register and vote.  And I’m hoping that what people also recognize is that voting does matter.”

For HPR News, I’m Wayne Yoshioka.

Wayne Yoshioka
Wayne Yoshioka is an award-winning journalist who has worked in television, print and radio in Hawaiʻi. He also has been on both sides of politics as a state departmental appointee and political/government reporter. He covered Hurricane Iwa (1982) as a TV reporter; was the State Department of Defense/Civil Defense spokesperson for Hurricane Iniki (1992); and, commanded a public affairs detachment in Afghanistan (2006). He has a master's degree in Communication from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa and is a decorated combat veteran (Legion of Merit, Bronze Star and 22 other commendation/service medals). He resides in Honolulu.
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