Dems give Obama more superdelegates
Hawaii Democrats elected Brian Schatz as the new party chairman and wrapped up their three-day state convention at the Hilton Hawaiian Village by awarding presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) three more superdelegate votes.
"Where was Gov. Lingle when Aloha Airlines asked for help? She was writing a speech that all is well with Hawaii's economy. That's not leadership."
Daniel Inouye / Senior U.S. senator for Hawaii
The Hawaii delegation will go to the August national convention in Denver with 21 votes for Obama and eight votes for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.).
Democrats voted yesterday for Kari Luna for vice chairwoman and James Burns, former chief judge of the state Intermediate Court of Appeals, along with Schatz, 35. All three had been sponsored by the Obama delegates, who were clearly in control of the convention.
The action, according to the Associated Press tally, gives Obama a total of 1,977 delegates, just 49 delegates short of the 2,026 needed to clinch the nomination. Clinton still has 1,779.
The 1,000 Democrats at the convention also selected a new national committeeman and woman. The pair will represent the party at national Democratic Party meetings. Former Gov. George Ariyoshi was voted in as committeeman, and Jadine Nielsen was elected committeewoman. The pair assume office after the national convention.
Ariyoshi, 82, who previously served as committeeman after he left the governorship, described this term as "my last hurrah."
Warning the delegates that the party needs to take the lead in Hawaii's issues, Ariyoshi said, "We need to ask the questions of how much water we have, what is our carrying capacity and what about our natural resources."
Hawaii's senior U.S. senator, Daniel Inouye, did not attend the convention. On Saturday he married Irene Hirano in California. But Inouye did send a video message to the delegates, using his time to launch a brief attack on the Republicans, including Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle.
"There has been too much spinning in the White House and at Washington Place (the Hawaii governor's mansion) as gasoline prices are going wildly out of control," Inouye said.
"Where was Gov. Lingle when Aloha Airlines asked for help? She was writing a speech that all is well with Hawaii's economy. That's not leadership," Inouye said in his video message.
Lenny Klompus, Lingle's senior adviser for communications, said Inouye should have read Lingle's speech.
"While Gov. Lingle and her team worked on a daily basis to deal compassionately and effectively with the layoffs at Molokai Ranch, Aloha Airlines and ATA, Sen. Inouye never once called the governor to offer support," Klompus said. "Because the senator's job keeps him in Washington most of the time, he should take time to read the governor's speech on Hawaii's economy. He just might learn something."
During the state Democratic convention, the Obama delegates maintained control because they won the most convention seats. The delegation was picked based on the February caucuses, which were flooded with more than 30,000 new voters, most of whom were Obama supporters. That translated into both the convention and the state Central Committee being dominated by Obama delegates.
Burns, who won his seat by defeating Jennifer Sabas, Inouye's Honolulu office chief of staff, noted that Obama had called him and asked that he run for the at-large superdelegate position.
"I really feel there is a revolution coming, and I want to help any way I can," said Burns, who said he has played golf in Hawaii with Obama.