Both parties aim to get voters out
Unions are also planning get-out-the-vote campaigns
It is all over except for the Election Day trolley rides.
Gov. Linda Lingle appears headed to becoming a Hawaii first: a two-term Republican governor.
While Democrats are expected to remain in control of Hawaii's congressional delegation, state Legislature and two of the four county mayorships, the top state position belongs to Lingle, who is wrapping up her campaign with rallies across the state.
Facing her on the campaign trail is Democratic challenger Randy Iwase, an underfunded former state senator who jumped into the race at the last minute -- when no other Democrat would challenge Lingle.
To win tomorrow, both Republicans and Democrats must find ways to make sure their supporters turn out to vote.
The chairmen of the Republican and Democratic parties predict a low voter turnout, so it is crucial for each party to make sure their voters show up.
The Republicans are planning a command center tomorrow that will occupy the entire second floor of the Dole Ballroom in Iwilei. Similar centers will also operate on the neighbor islands.
The state GOP plans an operation with several hundred volunteers with cell phones and commuters in the Iwilei center. GOP poll watchers will call in to the center to report if likely supporters have not voted. Then volunteers will call or even go over to the homes of voters to help them get to the polls.
"We hope our get-out-the-vote campaign is better. Nationally, the Republicans do a much better job on Election Day of turning out their vote," GOP state Chairman Sam Aiona said.
If the Republicans have a large centralized operation, the Democrats are looking to a more traditional Democratic base that includes union support to bring out the voters.
"Each candidate and their campaign are responsible," Democratic Party chairman Mike McCartney said. "It is the party's job to supplement the candidate's campaign."
The various public and private unions that are closely aligned with Democrats will each operate their own get-out-the-vote calling centers tomorrow.
The Democrats benefit from decades of practice running a coordinated general election campaign, with proven winners at the top of the ticket, helping candidates running in other races.
"We have many campaigns within our one big campaign. Our campaign may actually have a half-dozen other groups that can help turn out votes," McCartney explained.
"And it is our belief that that there are more of us than of them," he added.
Republicans and Democrats are focusing on two different messages. Democrats say the campaign is about President Bush and insist that a vote against a local GOP candidate will "send a message to Washington."
GOP leaders are equally convinced that supporting a Republican "helps Linda Lingle get a balanced Legislature."
House Speaker Calvin Say, who features a photo of himself greeting Lingle at the Legislature in a campaign mailout, says the election is about more than Lingle.
"I think it is the national scene which impacts Hawaii with the Iraq war, the cuts in human services, public education and the problems with Medicare," Say said.
McCartney agrees, adding that the Democrats are closing out the campaign with radio messages designed to link all local Republicans to the sinking popularity of the Bush administration.
"We are saying send George Bush and Linda Lingle a message -- it is time for a change," McCartney said.
Although two years ago Lingle barnstormed the mainland for Bush's re-election, Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona said it is unfair to link the local GOP with the national problems of the Republicans.
"This election is about Linda Lingle and the good work she has done," Aiona said.
"The Democrats are just grasping. They can't run against Lingle because she has an impeccable record.
"The voters are smart enough to know that a two-party system is what is best for Hawaii," Aiona said.
Finally, there is an inside game being played out this election season as both Say and Bunda watch the state House and Senate races, hoping that their own supporters are Election Day winners.
While Bunda's six-year hold on the Senate presidency has been the most tenuous, Say acknowledged that he also will be challenged for the House speakership.
Bunda calls the last two years "a struggle," but notes that his insistence on lowering state taxes led to an expansion of the state income tax brackets for next year.
"We have been very successful even though there were strained relationships in the Senate," Bunda said.