Aiona begins campaign with fund-raiser
With just $68,000 in the bank, Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona kicked off his re-election campaign with a fund-raiser last night.
Aiona has hired a full-time finance director, Kristi Sue-Ako, who had been an intern in the Governor's Office and worked for Sen. Gordon Trimble (R, Downtown-Waikiki).
Aiona's first fund-raiser since winning his first state election in 2002 was a $75-a-person reception held last night at the Plaza Club, attended by former professional basketball players Lucius Allen, George Gervin and Artis Gilmore, and the University of Hawaii "Fab Five" basketball team (1971-72).
According to state law, candidates for governor and lieutenant governor must run separate primary campaigns. The party winners are then allowed to link their campaigns for the general election.
So Aiona will have to raise his own money, win the primary and then join Republican Gov. Linda Lingle in the general election.
By way of comparison, Lingle raised $1.3 million in the last six months and has a campaign balance of $2.2 million. In the same period, Aiona raised $22,000, with the largest contribution being $6,000 from Safeway Inc.
Despite the restrictions on commingling funds until after the primary election next September, Aiona and Lingle plan to run as a team, according to Sam Aiona, state GOP chairman.
Sam Aiona, who is a cousin of the lieutenant governor, said no candidates have surfaced so far to challenge Aiona in the GOP primary.
"I haven't heard of anyone who intends to run except Lt. Gov. Aiona," he said.