Thursday, October 21, 2004

Attack mailings
focus on crime

State Democratic and GOP
officials trade accusations
about misleading literature

Hawaii Republicans and Democrats agree that the war on "ice" is a major issue in the upcoming election.


But they disagree on the best strategy to fight crystal methamphetamine and accuse each other of misleading attack ads.

Both parties are distributing mailers accusing the other party's candidates of being soft on the war on ice and crime.

Republicans are complaining about ads mailed to residents in the districts of four GOP lawmakers that accuse them of voting against $14.7 million for ice enforcement, treatment and education programs, when in fact the lawmakers voted for the appropriation measure.

The incumbent Republican representatives named in the Democrats' ads are Brian Blundell (Olowalu-Kihei), Corinne Ching (Nuuanu-Liliha), Bertha Leong (Kahala-Hahaione) and Guy Ontai (Waipahu-Mililani).

Joshua Wisch, Democratic House Caucus director, admitted that the ice-vote assertion was wrong. But as a general rule, he said, "We don't engage in deceptive campaign advertising."

Brennon Morioka, state Republican Party chairman, countered, "There is a pattern the Democrats have followed over the years, a pattern of deceit. The Democrats don't care what kind of information they're providing the public."

For their part, Democrats criticize as misleading a GOP mailer that shows a gloved hand reaching for a door handle through broken glass. The ads, personalized for a number of incumbent Democratic representatives, state that the lawmaker "wants you to MEET YOUR NEW NEIGHBOR."

The ads say the incumbents voted to allow criminals pushing ice to avoid jail time. So far, the Republican ads have been sent to constituents of Democratic Reps. Ken Ito (Heeia-Kaneohe), Michael Kahikina (Honokai Hale-Lualualei), Sylvia Luke (Dowsett Highlands-Makiki), Hermina Morita (Haena-Wailua House Lots) and Tommy Waters (Lanikai-Waimanalo).

Wisch said the Democratic lawmakers voted to do just the opposite of what the ads claim and even introduced bills to increase the penalties for ice pushers. He calls the Republican attack ads a smear and has appealed to the Clean Campaigns Project to denounce them.

"I have a difficult time stomaching the indignation that Republicans want to put an end to deceptive advertising when they put out such an extraordinary, disturbing image," Wisch said.

Morioka said nothing in the ads is false.

So far, no attack ads have emerged against state senators.

Republican Party officials have said their goal for the election is to gain at least enough seats to prevent the Legislature from overriding a veto by the governor.

Republicans now hold 15 of the state House's 51 seats. They need 18 votes to sustain a veto.

State Elections Office
Hawaii Democratic Party
Hawaii Republican Party


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