Mayor looks like he is running for governor


POSTED: Wednesday, June 10, 2009

At an after-work meeting with Cabinet members and supporters last night, Mayor Mufi Hannemann authorized supporters to form an exploratory committee for a run for governor in 2010.

According to sources, Hannemann told his supporters that he is still considering whether he should run for Congress or governor or stay at City Hall.

Hannemann has been getting donations for a run for governor. The mayor returned the donations, according to a source, but he then authorized supporters to start accepting funds for a gubernatorial campaign.

While not a definitive announcement, the formation of an exploratory committee usually precedes a formal announcement of a campaign.

The only announced Democrat running is U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie, who is planning a major fundraiser June 29 at the Hilton Hawaiian Village.

Hannemann also has a fundraiser for an unspecified office planned for later this month.

Abercrombie and Hannemann faced each other in a 1986 Democratic primary for Congress.

Hannemann has toyed with the race for governor since before winning re-election as mayor last year.

During the campaign, Hannemann pointedly said that he would not rule out a race for another office before completing his second term as Honolulu's chief executive.

In March, Abercrombie announced he would run for governor and not seek re-election to the 1st Congressional District, which he has served for the past 20 years. Abercrombie kicked off his campaign with an announcement in Honolulu, then in a series of campaign rallies across the state.

On the Republican side, Lt. Gov. James “;Duke”; Aiona has been running and raising campaign funds for about a year. He is in the midst of statewide series of fundraisers now. Also running is former Republican legislator John Carroll.

In 1986, Hannemann beat Abercrombie in the Democratic primary election to fill the term of U.S. Rep. Cec Heftel, who left office to run for governor. Abercrombie won the special election to fill the spot for two months.

Republican Pat Saiki later defeated Hannemann for the regular two-year term.

Hannemann also lost to Patsy Mink in a 2nd Congressional District race in 1990.

Hannemann won a City Council seat in 2000, representing the Pearl City-Waipahu area, and later became Council chairman.

In 2004 he defeated then-Councilman Duke Bainum for mayor.

Hannemann is also a former Fulbright scholar and White House Fellow and was director of the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism.