Behind the closed doors in caucus rooms and during private lunches and dinners with lobbyists, Hawaii's insiders talk local politics. To listen in to that off-the-record dialogue, the Star- Bulletin continues its monthly Insider Survey.
The Star-Bulletin asks a broad group of lobbyists who work for businesses, unions and social service agencies to comment on the issues of the day. We also query a group of influential Democratic and Republican legislators and the chairmen of the Oahu neighborhood boards.
The survey is patterned after a weekly survey in the respected Washington magazine the National Journal.
Our respondents may remain anonymous, but are encouraged to answer on the record.
Comments and suggestions are welcome and should be directed to Star-Bulletin writer Richard Borreca at firstname.lastname@example.org
Q: How will the Democrats and Republicans do in state legislative races? Ten Republicans are in the House and five are in the Senate. Are those numbers likely to increase or decrease?
» "I don't expect major changes, but I wouldn't be surprised if the Democrats picked up a seat or two. There is often much fault found (by voters) with elected officials in general, but their community's elected officials are 'good' and are supported." Laure Dillon, lobbyist
» "Besides the nuts and bolts of recruiting, training and funding candidates, Republicans should do well because it is the era of good feeling that the Lingle administration has engendered. The economy is perking along, unemployment is low, she is doing something about the homeless situation. In other words, Lingle will win re-election and will have skirt-tails." GOP Rep. Barbara Marumoto
» "I believe the Democrats will continue to maintain their majority hold. ... I would be surprised if the Republicans were to improve their numbers, since they had no real agenda nor were in a position to act in a manner that might have meaningfully distinguished themselves from the Democrats in the eyes of the public." Democratic lobbyist
» "The Democrats are at risk in the House as Republicans offer better and experienced candidates. Democrats may lose a few House seats, but the new state Democratic party chair, Mike McCartney, will bring experience and network support." Neighborhood Board chairman
» "I believe the ratio of Republicans to Democrats in both chambers will remain very close to the same as it is today. Most incumbents will be reelected except those who have demonstrated arrogance and a lack of respect to voters. Those incumbents who are not running will be replaced by a member of that person's party." Neighborhood Board chairman
» "The Democrats have a lot to answer for. ... Sadly, voters in Hawaii are not 'cause conscious' and will not hold the past Legislatures accountable and, sadly, I see no strong candidates from the Republican Party. ... I don't feel the Republicans will gain seats." Neighborhood Board chairman
» "With Lingle on the fifth floor, Republicans won't be able to play 'pin the blame on the donkey' as they have for years. But Democrats should be cautious, too, and not try to paint each Republican challenger as a Bush-loving conservative." Jeff Mikulina, lobbyist
BONUS QUESTION: Who will win the Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate: Sen. Dan Akaka or U.S. Rep. Ed Case?
» "I love Dan and intend to vote for him, but I think Ed may squeak by. Many feel it is time for the old guard to hand the baton to the next generation. There is an increasing sense that the old guard is not looking at what is good for the state and the party, but for their own personal good." Democratic legislator
» "The fate of the Akaka Bill will influence the race. Its failure will help Case and hurt Akaka." Neighborhood Board chairman
» "Akaka will win the primary, since the core of the Democratic Party is coming around him. Case may have benefited if there were not a primary race on the Republican side, but since the Hogue-Kawananakoa race is a competitive one, I think there will not be a crossover of Republicans to the other side." Lobbyist
» "The odds are greatly in favor of Sen. Akaka. Ed Case has a strong appeal to certain constituencies, but he has not inspired them other than an appeal for a change due to age issues. The frequent expression I hear reflecting a strong and negative emotional response is, 'It is like throwing the parent out of the house after it was willed to the son.'" Lobbyist
» "Sadly, I think that Akaka will prevail. He has the money, the guard is behind him as well as big labor. I say 'sadly' because it would be in the long-term best interest of Hawaii to have one younger senator." Lobbyist
» "Sen. Akaka should win by a close margin. But the polarization of the Akaka Bill could be hazardous for the senator." Democratic Rep. Joe Souki
LEGISLATORS: Sen. Will Espero (D), Sen. Colleen Hanabusa (D), Sen. Donna Mercado Kim (D), Sen. Russell Kokubun (D), Rep. Barbara Marumoto (R), Rep. Marcus Oshiro (D), Rep. Brian Schatz (D), Rep. Joe Souki (D)
NEIGHBORHOOD BOARD CHAIRMEN: Mike Abe, Bob Chuck, Wilson Kekoa Ho, Lester Muraoka, Nadine Nishioka, Grant Tanimoto
LOBBYISTS: Gary Bautista, Kat Brady, Andy Chang, Frank A. Chong, Laure Dillon, Jack Hoag, James Kuroiwa, Jeff Mikulina, Randy Perreira, John Radcliffe, Cynthia Rezentes, Gary Slovin, Roger Takabayashi, Carl Takamura, Linda Chu Takayama, Bette Tatum, Charles Toguchi, Robert Toyofuku