ROD THOMPSON / RTHOMPSON@STARBULLETIN.COM
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Randy Iwase and his wife, Jan, talked with Hamakua state Rep. Dwight Takamine at last night's Democratic Party Grand Rally at Hilo's Mooheau Park bandstand.
Lingle works phones while upbeat Iwase goes hoarse
Democrat Randy Iwase wraps up his campaign for governor on the Big Island while Republican Gov. Linda Lingle is expected to make personal phone calls to voters today in the close of the election season.
Iwase, hoarse from campaigning, was unavailable for comment yesterday, but Mike McCartney, Democratic Party state chairman, said the former state senator and Honolulu councilman is ending his campaign upbeat.
"I would say we have a chance," McCartney said. "This thing isn't over."
Iwase joined other Democrats last night at a traditional rally in Hilo.
Iwase jumped into the race late, after no established Democrats would run against Lingle and has pulled mostly traditional Democratic labor union support. As of the last campaign spending report, Iwase had been able to raise only about $300,000.
But Lingle's campaign, buoyed by a treasury of more than $6 million, has seen her favorability rating rise in the last year.
SurveyUSA, a independent national polling firm said a survey of 600 voters showed that 56 percent of Hawaii's voters approved of the job she was doing in October 2005, that rating jumping to 67 percent in October 2006. The survey has a margin of error of 4 percent.
Lingle yesterday campaigned at the Costco store at Iwilei, shaking hands with shoppers as they moved from buying hot dogs to shopping for everything from $335 bottles of wine to $26 food processors.
Voters appeared to approve of the Lingle campaign.
Clint Irvine, a retire Pearl Harbor Shipyard worker, who called himself a "lifelong Democrat" said he would vote today for Lingle.
"No, I didn't vote for her four years ago, but she is the best. She has accomplished a lot for the state," Irvine said.
Another shopper, Kimberly Bailey, who described herself as an independent, also said she would vote for Lingle.
CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Gov. Linda Lingle spent the day stumping for votes at Costo in Iwilei, where she signed an autograph for a young fan.
"I like what she has done in the past four years," Bailey said.
Both Bailey and Irvine said they were against the war in Iraq, with Bailey saying the United States should "bring everyone home as soon as possible."
When asked if they thought that Lingle's support for President Bush would influence their vote, they said no.
According to Lingle, the strategy of the Democrats to link local Republicans to an unpopular president is not working.
"The Democrats are out of touch with the people of Hawaii. The people understand that a governor of a state does not impact war policy for the nation.
"I think they took a mainland cookie-cutter approach, and it is not working in Hawaii," Lingle said.
She claimed that voters this year have not asked her about the war in Iraq.
"What they care about from me are safer neighborhoods, a better school system, bringing down the cost of living and protecting our environment," Lingle said.