Hogue rebuffs plea to stop his column
State Sen. Bob Hogue says he will continue writing a weekly newspaper column while he campaigns for the 2nd Congressional District in the U.S. House.
His decision was made despite calls from his primary opponent, who contends the column gives Hogue an "unethical political advantage."
Former state Rep. Quentin Kawananakoa, who is also seeking the seat being vacated by Democrat Ed Case, called on Hogue to voluntarily suspend his weekly column in MidWeek, the Star-Bulletin's sister publication.
"Mr. Hogue's columns give him a weekly communications channel to voters in the 2nd Congressional District that is denied to other candidates of any political party," Kawananakoa said.
Hogue defended the column, noting that its subject matter focuses on sports and recreation, not politics.
"I guess my overall reaction is that this is what I do for a living," said Hogue, a former sports broadcaster. "Everyone has a right to make a living, and this is what I do -- I write, I coach and I do broadcasting when I can, along with being a state senator.
"I don't have a million dollars. I've got to work for everything I can," Hogue added, a veiled reference to Kawananakoa, a direct descendant of Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole and a Campbell Estate heir.
Kawananakoa said he was disappointed in Hogue's decision.
"It's just unfortunate," he said. "Regardless of your present circumstance, you should hold yourself up to the highest ethical standards."
He also criticized MidWeek's editors for allowing the column to continue.
Unlike radio and television airwaves, which are regulated by the Federal Communications Commission, there are no "equal time" standards for print media.
"To have a newspaper printing your words in a column on a weekly basis seems to display a potential bias on behalf of the newspaper," Kawananakoa said, noting that another MidWeek columnist, Jerry Coffee, voluntarily stopped writing his column after declaring his candidacy for the U.S. Senate.
MidWeek Editor Don Chapman said the issue of whether Hogue could write his column while campaigning has come up before at election time, and the column has been allowed to continue because of its subject matter.
"I am not going to ask a guy to give up a significant portion of his income so that he can run for public office," Chapman said, "especially when the guy's writing about sports and recreation."
He said he considered Coffee's column to be significantly different.
"Coffee writes every week about public policy and political issues, and so that did not seem right," Chapman said. "He voluntarily said that he would stop writing the column, and we said, 'Thanks, because we would've asked you not to.'"
Hogue was never asked to stop writing, Chapman said.
Kawananakoa noted that Gov. Linda Lingle and Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona also have voluntarily suspended their weekly radio programs during the campaign season. Lingle, however, said she did not see anything improper with Hogue's column continuing.
"I read him from time to time, and I never noticed anything political," Lingle said. "The program I was doing talked about programs and certain legislators, and it is two different situations."