Isle politicos maneuver for positions
CAMPAIGN plans need not be firmed up until this time next year, but already some interesting strategies are shaping up.
If there can be anything like a macroview of the Legislature, the big story will always be who is in control, who can name committee chairmen and who gets to refer bills to committees.
With that in mind, here are some microviews that aren't likely to change the balance of power, but could upset a few applecarts.
In the House, there is more than a casual interest in what is going on in the Senate.
Already Rep. Josh Green (D, Keauhou-Honokohau), the emergency room doctor and political whirlwind, has targeted Sen. Paul Whalen (R, Milolii-Waimea).
As an unpledged Democrat, Green reports being courted by all of the Balkanized Senate factions.
There's another interesting possible step from the House to the Senate if Rep. Dwight Takamine leaves his Hawi-to-Hilo Democratic House seat to run for the Senate. Sen. Lorraine Inouye is lining up a comeback campaign for mayor. A former county council member, Inouye was mayor for two years in the 1990s and is interested in running next year, when Mayor Harry Kim must retire because of term limits.
If Takamine leaves the First House District, it will be the first time since 1959 that neither he nor his father, Yoshito, has represented the district. The only thing that might delay Takamine's run would be if Inouye hangs back in the Senate, but she has been on the losing side of the latest Senate power shift and might not see any reason to hang around Honolulu.
Senate President Colleen Hanabusa is expected to go for her third term representing her Waianae district, but is still keeping open the option of a 2010 run for governor.
Then, on the purely rumor front, there has been speculation without any confirmation that former Democratic candidate for governor William Aila would be interested in running for the Legislature if there were an opening in the Leeward Coast. So far no incumbents are moving or leaving and there is no opening.
There also has been speculation about the fate of the term-limited Honolulu City Councilmen.
Councilmen Charles Djou, Donovan Dela Cruz, Rod Tam and Gary Okino are not able to serve on the Council in 2010. So some Capitol insiders are saying that Tam might look to run for the Legislature, and Djou has been mentioned as a possible candidate for either governor or lieutenant governor as a Republican.
Former Council Chairman Dela Cruz is mulling over a run for lieutenant governor in 2010.
Check back a year from now to tally up how many rumors have faded and how many have become fact.