Sunday, September 8, 2002

Election 2002


Primary election
looks to be lively

Veteran office-holders and 2 newcomers
are squaring off for the nominations
for governor and lieutenant governor

By Richard Borreca

If the general election is considered the "Perfect Storm" of elections, consider the upcoming primary election a pretty good tempest.

The biggest storm on the horizon is a three-way fight for governor in the Democratic primary and an equally heated set of races for lieutenant governor in the Republican and Democratic primaries.

In the Democratic governor's contest, the three major candidates are D.G. "Andy" Anderson, 72, the former Republican state senator who twice ran unsuccessfully for mayor and governor as a Republican; Lt. Gov. Mazie Hirono, 54, who served 14 years in the state House before winning two four-year terms as lieutenant governor; and state Rep. Ed Case, 49, an eight-year House veteran and former Democratic leader and Hawaiian Affairs Committee chairman.

Although Anderson has been out of politics for seven years, he said he jumped back in as a Democrat because of his concerns that the state budget was unbalanced, and he wanted to run as a Democrat. Anderson said he left the GOP because of concern that the debate over abortion was making the party intolerant.

Since starting his campaign, Anderson has supported a state-sponsored lottery to aid public education, and state competition in the retail gasoline market to control the cost of motor fuel. He has run a low-budget campaign, spending $177,020, according to reports filed in July with the state.

U.S. Sen. Dan Inouye, in white, addressed the news media after an Aug. 8 Democratic Party meeting here to rally the troops. Among the party faithful were Gov. Ben Cayetano and, flanking Inouye, gubernatorial candidates Lt. Gov. Mazie Hirono and Ed Case. The governor's race includes four other Democrats, three Republicans, six nonpartisans, two Libertarians, two Natural Law and one Free Energy candidate.

Hirono came by the governor's race via a circuitous route. Hirono said she wanted to run for governor shortly after winning re-election in 1998, but dropped out of the race last year while Mayor Jeremy Harris' campaign for governor appeared to be better financed.

When Harris bowed out, saying he couldn't beat Republican Linda Lingle, Hirono hopped back into the race. Her campaign spending report in July said the campaign has spent $317,270. Her campaign issues have centered on her experience in office and her desire to work collaboratively with business and labor groups to solve state problems.

Case, who has been a maverick in his party and resigned his Democratic leadership post after complaining that the House was too tightly controlled by public employee unions, has campaigned on "fiscal responsibility," saying the state cannot afford to keep its current $3.65 billion-a-year budget without going into the red.

Election 2002
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On the Republican side, Linda Lingle, the former GOP chairwoman and Maui mayor, has raised $1.5 million and is running a strong statewide campaign. Her 25-page plan for reforming state government included large tax cuts and incentives, which Gov. Ben Cayetano, her successful Democratic opponent four years ago, called unrealistic and too expensive.

She is opposed by John Carroll, a former legislator, attorney and airline pilot, who says he represents conservatives in Hawaii.

There is no lack of competition in the lieutenant governor's race with the Democrats fielding three major candidates, all former state senators: Clayton Hee, Matt Matsunaga and Donna Ikeda. Hee is also a longtime veteran of the Office of Hawaii Affairs. Ikeda lost her Senate position but returned to politics two years ago by winning a seat on the school board. Matsunaga, the son of former U.S. Sen. Spark Matsunaga, is an attorney and is currently in the Senate.

On the GOP side, two newcomers, television journalist Dalton Tanonaka and former Family Court Judge James Aiona, are running against Cam Cavasso, a former member of the state House.

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