Ex-senator is possible Lingle rival
Randy Iwase, chairman of the state Labor and Industrial Relations Appeals Board, is the latest Democrat to consider running for governor against Republican Gov. Linda Lingle.
Iwase said yesterday he feels "passionate about running."
"I want to have a sense of comfort that the support will be there. Right now, it is a good feeling," Iwase said. "This is a winnable race. We are going to hold this administration accountable for a record of not accomplishing much and not following through."
A former deputy attorney general, Iwase served from 1985 to 1988 on the City Council before stepping down to run unsuccessfully for mayor. He was then named executive director of the state's Aloha Tower Development Corporation and ran for the state Senate in 1990.
Iwase, 58, represented the Waipahu-Mililani area in the Senate for 10 years, stepping down in 2000, when he was nominated by former Gov. Ben Cayetano to the labor appeals post.
The nomination was not well-received by everyone. In an unusual move, three Democrats -- Sen. Colleen Hanabusa and then-Sens. Marshall Ige and Rod Tam -- voted against Iwase, with Hanabusa saying in a floor speech that Iwase was not qualified for the position.
Iwase attended Kaimuki High School and the University of Florida, and earned a law degree from the University of San Francisco.
Brickwood Galuteria, Democratic party chairman, welcomed Iwase's possible candidacy.
"Of all the people who have surfaced, Randy is the first one who came forward and contacted me and expressed a sincere interest in running," Galuteria said.
"It is his passion for the campaign that got me. ... I think Randy is a viable candidate and if he emerges as our candidate, we would embrace him," he added.
In the past year, several possible opponents to Lingle have considered entering the race, but later declined. So far, Galuteria has kept open discussions with Big Island Mayor Harry Kim, but yesterday Galuteria said Kim was not ready to make a decision.
Those who considered, but rejected, a run against Lingle include former banker Walter Dods and former Honolulu police Chief Lee Donohue.
Galuteria said Schools Superintendent Pat Hamamoto had considered the race but then decided against it.