Anderson makesHawaii's race for governor is heating up with the addition of Republican-turned-Democrat D.G. "Andy" Anderson at the same time that Mayor Jeremy Harris is releasing a private poll showing him leading the Democratic field by a wide margin.
gov run official
The 20-year veteran of the
Legislature and newfound
Democrat may get union support
By Richard Borreca
Anderson announced his candidacy yesterday, saying his experience as a legislator for 20 years and two years as Honolulu managing director, plus his history as a self-made businessman give him better qualifications than the other candidates for governor.
At the same time, there are growing indications that Anderson may pick up the support of the state's two politically influential public employee unions, the Hawaii Government Employees Association and the United Public Workers.
Gary Rodrigues, UPW executive director, told the Associated Press that Anderson's announcement was "a great idea."
"If we endorse him, it won't be just an announcement," Rod-rigues said. "We'll be working very hard."
Russell Okata, HGEA director, has said that while he preferred Lt. Gov. Mazie Hirono for governor, now that she is not running for governor, he would consider Anderson. The HGEA endorsements are not expected until next year.
Anderson yesterday dismissed Harris' candidacy, saying he was a career politician who did not have the experience, "knowledge, street smarts and background in government."
"Plus, I am a senior citizen," Anderson, 71, said.
Harris said he considers Anderson to be "part of the old-boy network," and speculated that Anderson was running just to "sap my resources."
"I have trouble understanding what would be his motivation after 45 years as Mr. Republican, he decides to run against me as a Democrat," Harris said.
Rep. Ed Case, the other Democratic candidate for governor, also speculated that Anderson was running as a Democrat because he could not beat Linda Lingle, the GOP chairwoman and a candidate for governor.
Anderson said he left the GOP seven years ago after conservative Christian Republicans failed to support Pat Saiki, his candidate for governor.
"I do not want to be Republican," Anderson said yesterday. "I would not go back to the Republican Party if the nomination were handed to me on a silver platter."
"Well, it's not," said Republican Party Executive Director Micah Kane. "I'm sure he feels more at home with the old-boy network of the Democratic Party than with the Republican Party."
Anderson also said that if he wins the Democratic primary, he is better qualified than Lingle, noting she does not have business experience.
"If we had a $500 million surplus and everything was great in Hawaii, then almost anyone could be governor," Anderson said. "Linda lacks the business background; she lacks the depth and experience. While I like her very much, she does not have the qualifications at this point."
Lingle, while saying that she liked Anderson as well, disputes his view of "qualifications," saying they come from two different schools of thought.
"He's from the school of 'Reward your friends and punish your enemies,'" Lingle said. "My view of politics involves the public and a working two-party system of government."
As for Anderson choosing to run as a Democrat, Lingle said, "It's an indication of the weakness the Harris camp is projecting in the community."
Harris pollster and political strategist Don Clegg said the campaign would not have released the poll results if they were not so favorable for Harris.
"The numbers show he doesn't have much of a chance," Clegg said about Anderson's campaign.
Clegg also discounted support from major public union leaders, calling an endorsement "a millstone around a candidate's neck."
"Also, nonunion folk are a little fed up with union leadership," Clegg said.
Star-Bulletin reporter Rod Antone
contributed to this report.