Wednesday, November 3, 2004


State House challenger Kameo Tanaka, with wife Mellie, enjoyed a narrow lead ahead of incumbent Brian Blundell last night for the 10th District (West Maui-North Kihei).

Democrats’ gains keep
Lingle’s vetoes vulnerable

Hawaii Republicans and Gov. Linda Lingle campaigned hard to win more seats in the state House this election season. Last night, they fell short -- maybe losing from two to five seats.

Election 2004


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Democrats increased their majority in the state House, delivering a blow to Lingle's push to win three more seats to prevent overrides of her vetoes.

Lingle attributed the Democrats' wins to false mailings against Republican candidates.

"They don't play by our book or our rules because their mail pieces were found to be false, misleading and inaccurate," she said. "And if you look at some of our candidates, the incumbents in particular who looks like took a hit this time, it was those candidates who put false advertising out about their voting record as related to the 'ice' bill, as related to their attendance record, and then they tried to cover it up by saying it was a typo."

Democratic Party of Hawaii Chairman Brickwood Galuteria said the result is a statement about the success of the Democrats in the Legislature rather than the failure of Lingle and the Republicans. "I think it's more of a positive statement toward our leadership and the good works that they've done so far," Galuteria said.

Going into yesterday's election, Republicans held just 15 of the 51 seats in the House.

One bright spot for the GOP was the win by Kymberly Pine over freshman Rep. Romy Mindo for the seat representing Ewa Beach. But GOP incumbents Bertha Leong (Hahaione-Kahala), Guy Ontai (Waipahu-Mililani) and David Pendleton (Maunawili-Kaneohe) on Oahu more than offset Mindo's defeat.

Lyla Berg defeated Leong, Ryan Yamane beat Ontai and Pono Chong bested Pendleton.

GOP incumbents on the Big Island and Maui were also trailing their Democratic challengers. Republican Rep. Mark Jernigan was trailing opponent Joshua Green for the Keauhou-Honokohau seat on the Big Island.

State Rep. Brian Blundell (R, West Maui-North Kihei), trying to overcome a misdemeanor sex assault scandal, was trailing first-time candidate Kameo Tanaka, the brother of former state Sen. Joe Tanaka.

Two-term state Rep. Kika Bukoski (R, Makawao-Kula-Pukalani) was trailing businessman Kyle Yamashita.

House Speaker Calvin Say said Lingle motivated Democrats when she declared in her first year as governor that she would work to defeat Democrats who opposed her initiatives. "And that's where I think the majority caucus got really scared and shook up, just because we disagree with her that she's going to come and target us."

On Kauai the political comeback hopes of two-term Mayor Maryanne Kusaka were dashed by incumbent Sen. Gary Hooser (D, Kauai-Niihau).

Star-Bulletin reporters Rod Antone, Gary T. Kubota and Anthony Sommer contributed to this report.

State Elections Office


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