CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Republican candidates for the U.S. House Bob Hogue, left, and Quentin Kawananakoa congratulated each other yesterday after a debate before the Kailua Chamber of Commerce.
GOP House rivals clash in debate
Hogue takes issue with Kawananakoa's portrayal of his record
Two Republicans running to represent rural Oahu and the neighbor islands in the U.S. House tried to separate themselves on various issues, but also traded barbs over negative campaigning.
State Sen. Bob Hogue accused his opponent, former House Minority Leader Quentin Kawananakoa, of "distorting" his record of support for native Hawaiians in a flyer recently mailed to voters in the 2nd Congressional District.
"I just think it's unfortunate when anything like that happens," said Hogue, who has touted himself as an average person running a "positive" campaign. "I think that the electorate is tired of that. They don't appreciate it."
Kawananakoa said he saw nothing wrong or dirty about pointing out an incumbent's voting record.
"Sharing someone's legislative record and how they might act in the future -- that's what we're supposed to talk about," he said. "Those are the issues that we want to hear about.
"The idea that you can't say anything about someone's legislative history is silly. It's public document."
Hogue and Kawananakoa debated yesterday at the monthly general membership meeting of the Kailua Chamber of Commerce.
Their stance on native Hawaiian sovereignty came in response to a question from the audience on how they would address the issue, with the Akaka Bill now off the table.
"I can tell you that I do support native Hawaiian programs ... we need to protect that with federal recognition," Hogue said. "I've said all along, if there's a change in government, like the vague way that the Akaka Bill was written, that we should have an entire plebiscite (vote) and have everyone get an opportunity to vote on it."
Kawananakoa, in the campaign mailer and at the forum, criticized Hogue for "waffling," adding that he believes the senator has been influenced by "very conservative" groups that oppose Hawaiian sovereignty.
Regarding a resolution in the state Legislature voicing support for the Akaka Bill, Kawananakoa noted that Hogue had voted in support.
"Now he's changed his story," Kawananakoa said. "He wants the same story that they (Akaka Bill opponents) believe -- that we have a plebiscite of the whole entire state.
"I'm concerned with someone who has flip-flopped for support."
The two GOP candidates have clashed before.
Last month, Kawananakoa urged Hogue to voluntarily suspend his weekly newspaper column, on the grounds that it gave him an unfair public forum for campaigning. Hogue refused, noting that the column contributes a substantial part of his income and is devoted to sports and recreation, not politics.
The GOP winner will face one of 10 Democrats seeking their party's vote in Saturday's primary.
Democrats in the race are: Hanalei Aipoalani, Nestor Garcia, Colleen Hanabusa, Clayton Hee, Mazie Hirono, Gary Hooser, Matt Matsunaga, Ron Menor, Brian Schatz and Joe Zuiker.