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Wednesday, November 20, 2002



Waihee will not
run for Mink’s
House seat

Too many Democrats may give
the GOP the upper hand, he says


By Pat Omandam
pomandam@starbulletin.com

Citing the need for a strong, unified Democratic team in Congress, former Gov. John Waihee III said he will not run in the January special election to replace the late U.S. Rep. Patsy Mink.


Election 2002
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In a statement yesterday, Waihee said he discussed his possible candidacy with family and close friends, and it was decided that if too many Democrats enter the race, the result could be a Republican winner on Jan. 4.

"I believe that is not in the best interest of the working families of the 2nd District and, for that matter, the entire state," said Waihee, principal attorney in his own firm, Waihee and Nip.

As of yesterday, there were 32 candidates who filed for the January election. Nine are Democrats. Today is the filing deadline to run for that election.

"It's a shame," said former state Rep. Bob McDermott of Waihee's announcement. "He's a good man. I'd like to see him in the race. The more Democrats, the better."

Mink posthumously won the Nov. 5 general election over McDermott, who is one of 11 Republicans running in January.

Waihee may have been influenced by a Democratic Party poll of 600 registered Hawaii voters on their favorability of candidates in this special election. The poll showed 27 percent would vote for candidate Ed Case, followed by 11 percent for Lt. Gov. Mazie Hirono and 8 percent for McDermott.

Only 4 percent said they would vote for Waihee, who also had the highest percentage of unfavorable responses. The poll was commissioned by the Hawaii Democratic Coordinated Campaign and conducted by Ridder and Braden of Colorado on Nov. 16-17, according to the Case campaign.

Case said yesterday Waihee's decision was the right choice for a good reason. He added that his campaign message isn't based on who is in the race.

"Our campaign and our message has not changed and will not change regardless of who is or isn't in the race," Case said.

"We are going to offer the second congressional voters the next generation of leadership in Washington," he said.

The 2nd Congressional District includes rural Oahu and the neighbor islands.

Case also came out ahead in the poll against Matt Matsunaga, former Democratic lieutenant governor candidate who is expected to enter the race.

Democratic state Sen. Colleen Hanabusa, who is also running in January, believes she and Waihee probably would have appealed to many of the same voters so it may be to her benefit that he decided not to run.

And she's not dissuaded by the poll results. She said it's not a surprise that those who ran for statewide public office during this regular election season would have an advantage.

Hirono could not be reached for comment. Former City Councilman Mufi Hannemann, who had considered running for Congress, said yesterday he will focus on the Honolulu mayor's race in two years.

The winner of a separate special election on Nov. 30 will serve the remainder of Mink's current term, which expires in January.



State Office of Elections



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