A conservative touts his
business success, while a
moderate stresses his
ELECTION SPECIAL SECTIONBy Richard Borreca
It is a big fight for a small amount of votes, but the combatants say victory will lead to the lieutenant governor's office next year.
The major candidates for lieutenant governor in this year's Republican Party primary are likely to split between 60,000 and 75,000 votes.
"I've talked to a lot of people, and I would say it is a horse race," GOP state Sen. Sam Slom says.
"There's no question Mike has more broad-based experience, while Stan may be a bit more outgoing," he says of the leading candidates, Mike Liu and Stan Koki.
Also running is Kioni Dudley, 59, a former teacher who has run for three different state offices under different political parties.
Koki, 51, is a former state senator from Kaneohe who stresses his rags-to-riches business experience, growing up in an immigrant farming family with seven siblings in Waiahole Valley and going on to establish the state's largest carpet retailer.
Liu, 45, who served in both the state House and Senate, likes to emphasize his hands-on political experience and his support with middle-of-the-road Republicans.
In contrast, Koki doesn't hide his conservative philosophy.
"Ronald Reagan is the person who shaped my political viewpoints," Koki says. "He is strongly pro-family. No one can accuse Ronald Reagan of being anything but a staunch American.
"I believe government should be smaller, and taxes lower; I believe in capital punishment."
Liu, however, counsels a moderate approach. "The kind of things I've been supporting are very much in tune with the mainstream of the Republican Party and the mainstream of Hawaii."
As a former assistant secretary of agriculture under President George Bush, Liu sees himself being able to help Hawaii's fledgling diversified agriculture industry and also work on federal legislation beneficial to Hawaii.
Koki has a campaign bankroll nearly double that of Liu's, having raised $221,000 to Liu's $121,000.
Both Koki and Liu are supporting Republican Maui Mayor Linda Lingle over former Honolulu mayor Frank Fasi in the GOP primary.
And both envision themselves as the better running mate for Lingle.
"Linda and I are on the same page," Liu says. "I think Linda is absolutely correct when she says it is the attitude and values of how we treat people in order for us to join the rest of the country in economic prosperity."
Koki says, "Linda Lingle needs a conservative running mate."
Dudley has stressed that he could work with both GOP gubernatorial candidates, Fasi and Lingle.
He sees his campaign as a "common sense" approach to government.
"I support cutting taxes, regulations, government paperwork, insurance and reining in worker's compensation," he says.
On the corporate side, Dudley says businesses must also help the economy by lowering prices.