Dems will meet to finish business
Just one month after their record-setting February caucuses, the Hawaii Democrats will hold another series of meetings Wednesday at 7 p.m.
The meetings will be held to organize 15 Oahu districts and several precincts of Districts 14, 15 and 16 on Kauai.
The additional meetings are needed because in the confusion of the February caucus and presidential preference poll, some districts did not elect party officers and delegates to the county and state conventions.
"Some districts were so overwhelmed, the only business they got to finish were the preference polls," said Annelle Amaral, Oahu Democratic chairwoman.
The caucus, which had 4,000 voters in 2004, had more than 37,000 last month. The crowds swamped party officials.
The new elections will not change the delegate count for Sen. Barack Obama, who won 14 delegates, and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, who picked up six.
The new convention delegates selected at either the February meeting or the Wednesday gatherings will go to the convention to select a new party chairman.
Amaral, a former state representative, said she is considering running. "There is some talk of me running for state party chair, and I haven't closed the possibility on that happening. I am keeping that option open," she said.
Also considering a run is Obama's Hawaii campaign spokesman Brian Schatz, who said he would welcome a race for party chairman.
"I like Annelle, and I think she worked very hard as Oahu party chair. Wherever she goes she will have strong supporters," said Schatz, a former state representative. "I have not yet arrived at a decision. I am thinking about it seriously."
Former state Sen. Mike McCartney resigned as party chairman when he became executive director of the Hawaii State Teachers Association.
Amaral said she thinks a big turnout by Obama supporters is likely to shape the party.
"If the new officers and delegates come in with Obama-like ideas of openness and transparency, it will effect how our party looks and acts in the future," she said.
Senate President Colleen Hanabusa, spokeswoman for the local Clinton campaign, said she welcomed a contest between Schatz and Amaral.
"It would be a positive statement, and it is healthy that she is considering running," Hanabusa said.
Where Democrats will meet Wednesday at 7 p.m.:
» Districts 21, 22, 23 and 24 at Washington School, 1633 S. King St.
» Districts 25, 26, 27 and 28 at Kawananakoa School, 49 Funchal St.
» Districts 32, 33, 34 and 36 at Alvah Scott Elementary School, 98-1230 Moanalua Road
» District 47 at Kahaluu Elementary School, 47-280 Waihee Road
» District 48 at Windward Community College, Hale Akoakoa, Room 105
» District 49 at Kailua High School, 451 Ulumanu Drive
For the Kauai meetings, go to www.hawaiidemocrats.org.