Sunday, October 19, 2003

Presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich shook hands yesterday with Pablo Piano, the vice president of the Maui Filipino Community Council. Kucinich, a congressman from Ohio, was a guest at the annual installation dinner of the statewide United Filipino Council, attended by some 400 people at Westin Maui last night.

Bush’s Hawaii trip
to follow visit by
Democrat challenger

President Bush's visit Thursday will cap off a rare week of presidential politics for Hawaii.

With only four electoral votes, Hawaii usually gets little attention by presidential candidates, but both a Democratic challenger, Ohio's Rep. Dennis Kucinich, and the incumbent Republican president have Hawaii on this week's "to-do" lists.

Kicinich met with supporters on Maui last night. More events are scheduled on Maui today and on Oahu tonight.

Bush is expected in town Thursday after his weeklong swing through Asia and Australia.

The president will be making his first visit to Hawaii, keeping unbroken a string of presidential visits stretching back to Franklin Roosevelt.

While in Hawaii, Bush is expected to do some high-level campaigning of his own as he holds a fund-raiser at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Hilton Hawaiian Village.

Tickets to the dinner are either $1,000 or $2,000 and invitations were mailed more than a week ago from Bush's West Coast campaign office, according to a campaign spokeswoman.

The invitations told supporters that they were "non-transferable." The Hawaii GOP told supporters that if they want information about the dinner, they should call 533-3400 and leave a name and phone number.

If supporters bought a "gold" table to the Bush dinner for $20,000, they will be eligible for two tickets to a special VIP reception and a photo opportunity with Bush, according to the invitation.

"Silver" table sponsors could buy a table for $10,000, which includes one ticket to the VIP reception and a photo op. The invitation said that two people will be allowed in on each VIP reception ticket.

Security for the dinner will be strict, with all those attending required to give both date of birth and Social Security numbers.

So far Bush has raised $84 million across the country. By way of comparison, by the end of the 2000 race, Bush had raised $193 million and his Democratic opponent former Vice President Al Gore had raised $132 million.

So far this year, according to the Bush campaign, 670 people from Hawaii gave Bush $73,244 in just the last six months, including Gov. Linda Lingle, who gave Bush $1,000 on July 14. During the last presidential campaign, Gore raised $98,512 from Hawaii residents and Bush picked up $73,292.

Gore beat Bush in Hawaii by a vote of 205,286 to 137,845.

According to the invitation, the Bush fund-raiser chairs are: Miriam Hellreich, Hawaii GOP national committeewoman; Brennon Morioka, Hawaii GOP executive director; Lenny Klompus, Lingle's senior advisor for communications; Shelton Jim On, a newly appointed state school board member and GOP volunteer; and David Murdock, owner and chairman of Castle & Cooke.

Diane Furubayashi, Denise Chillingworth and Doug Luna were among a handful of supporters for the Howard Dean presidential campaign waving to passing motorists Friday at the corner of Dole Street and University Avenue.

Protests outside the fund-raiser are expected, as supporters of other presidential candidates say they will show up.

"We are working on creating a showing of hopefully around 20 people with signs, shirts, and hats outside the Bush dinner," says Joshua Wisch, with the local Howard Dean for President campaign.

The local Democratic Party is helping spread the word about possible rallies against the Bush visit, but is not formally organizing anything against the president, according to Alex Santiago, Hawaii Democratic Party executive director.

"All we are doing is using our network to get the information out to people," Santiago said.

So far, the Dean campaign has been the most visible and extensively organized among the Democratic candidates.

Wisch said the Dean campaign started about a year ago with regular meetings of six or seven people. Since then, Wisch said, the campaign has picked up more than $10,000 in local contributions and a volunteer list of 500.

The Dean campaign also benefited from getting the early endorsement of former Gov. Ben Cayetano and Hawaii Rep. Neil Abercrombie.

"Locally, we are seeing people want to get involved in the system again and we are signing up hundreds of new voters and new Democrats," Wisch, an attorney and former volunteer with the campaigns of Al Gore and the late U.S. Rep. Patsy Mink.

The mission for local Democrats is to organize the party precincts for their candidate and get Democrats at the precinct meetings to cast ballots in the Presidential Candidate Preference Poll for their candidates.

The only other campaign active in Hawaii is the U.S. Sen. John Edwards campaign, which is being helped by Jadine Nielsen, a former national Democratic Party activist, and political appointee during the Clinton administration.

"I have just started talking to the Democratic Party leaders and am making sure they get the information about Edwards," she said.

So far the North Carolina Democrat does not have a trip to Hawaii planned, but Nielsen said she is working on it.


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