Cayetano urges Kim to run for governor
Former Democratic Gov. Ben Cayetano says Big Island Mayor Harry Kim should be the Democrats' candidate to try to unseat Republican Gov. Linda Lingle in the 2006 election.
On the air
Show: "Island Insights" on Hawaii Public Television, KHET
When: Nov. 14, 7:30 p.m.
Who: Former Hawaii Gov. Ben Cayetano interviewed by political analyst and University of Hawaii history professor Dan Boylan.
Speaking during the taping the Hawaii Public Television show "Island Insights," Cayetano said Kim is the Democrat's best chance of defeating Lingle.
"I would like to have Harry Kim as a candidate. Harry Kim has a story that would resonate well," Cayetano said.
Cayetano said that once U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie decided to run for re-election to Congress and not governor, the Democrats didn't have many choices.
"We are going to find someone. If we can't find someone, the state will survive," Cayetano said.
Democratic Party leaders had said they hoped by August to have a candidate to oppose Lingle, but so far no major Democrat has decided to run.
Cayetano said he wrote Kim urging him to run against Lingle.
Kim attended a Democratic Party fund-raiser this spring asking to give the introduction for Sen. Dan Inouye, raising speculation that Kim was interested in further political office as a Democrat.
Kim said he is considering the race against Lingle, but has not made a decision.
Andy Levin, Big Island executive director, said Kim was in Los Angeles getting a medical check-up at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. The 66-year-old mayor suffered a heart attack in May, but returned to work a week later. Yesterday Levin said Kim appears to be in good health.
"His cholesterol is amazing, his body fat is amazing. He seems very fit, but he is getting conflicting opinions and he decided to go for another test," Levin said.
Asked about a possible campaign for governor, Levin responded, "He has not decided and I would not predict when he would make a decision."
For Cayetano, who describes himself as "semi-retired" from politics, Kim would be a good fit for voters.
"Harry, if you listen to what he has to say, he kind of grows on you. I think he speaks a lot of sense and I personally would feel comfortable with him," said Cayetano, who narrowly beat Lingle in 1998 to win his second term as governor.