GOP candidates for Case's seat take stand at forum
With no Democratic rivals present, the two are likely to focus on their differences
In the race for the 2nd Congressional District in the U.S. House, the 10 Democrats have largely overshadowed the two Republicans in the campaign.
That will not be the case today, when the two GOP candidates seeking to replace Ed Case in Congress meet today for a forum being held in the district.
State Sen. Bob Hogue and former state House Minority Leader Quentin Kawananakoa are scheduled to address the Kailua Chamber of Commerce at the group's monthly general membership meeting at Mid-Pac Country Club.
Without having to respond to issues raised by Democrats -- such as criticism of the Bush administration, the war in Iraq and federal programs such as the No Child Left Behind Act -- the two are likely to spend more time focusing on setting themselves apart from each other.
Hogue has portrayed himself as the "average guy" pushing a positive message and his ability to work with others.
"We need to have legislators who really have respect for people and for others -- who constantly bring that courtesy to the table," Hogue (R, Kaneohe-Kailua) said during a recent radio forum.
Kawananakoa has touted his willingness to stand up to Democrats and represent Hawaii as a member of the current majority party in Congress.
"Who is the Republican who can best do battle with the Democrats on Nov. 7 (Election Day)?" said Kawananakoa. "I've been willing to distinguish myself. I've been willing to call them (Democrats) to the mat."
For example, Kawananakoa has taken a strong stance on tax cuts passed by the Bush administration in 2001, which have been criticized by Democrats as benefiting the wealthy. Kawananakoa, a direct descendant of Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole, has called the cuts beneficial to everyone by spurring economic growth and putting money back in taxpayers' pockets.
Unlike some GOP candidates elsewhere, neither Hogue nor Kawananakoa has shied away from voicing support for the current administration. An Associated Press-Ipsos poll this month showed that GOP candidates in close mainland races were avoiding party labels in their ads and playing down their ties to the president.
Neal Milner, a political scientist at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, says party affiliation is not as much of an issue in a primary.
"This is about, basically, an election in which your base is voting," Milner said. "It's probably not a bad idea to get your Republican credentials out there.
"The whole character changes in the general election."