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Mufi's bid for governor will mix up City Hall


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POSTED: Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Let's talk tactics. Not strategy or anything high-minded — let's just figure out what's up with the City Council.

Although this is not an election year, the tragic death of Councilman Duke Bainum triggers a special election to be held this summer. The election to fill Bainum's seat forces some players to say now what they want to do for next year's election.

The uncertainty is caused by the state's resign-to-run law. Mayor Mufi Hannemann is collecting money to run for governor. Although he has not announced for governor, Hannemann had to tell the state's Campaign Spending Commission he was running for governor because state law doesn't allow people to idly hit up people for campaign cash without say what they are running for.

As an aside, this doesn't mean Hannemann is a candidate, but as we used to say in Texas, “;he's a-fixing to run.”; Starting February 2010, Hannemann and all others can file with the state elections office to run for governor. Hannemann, who would run against U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie in the Democratic primary, would have to resign as mayor. When he does that, the managing director, Kirk Caldwell, becomes acting mayor.

Caldwell has already said he is thinking about running for mayor, so being acting mayor can only help in that campaign. Before wanting to be mayor, Caldwell wanted to be on the City Council. He fumbled the process of filing for the Council last year and was disqualified. He has not decided what to do.

Former Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi just made up her mind to run for her old Council seat, which she left to run unsuccessfully for mayor last year. That's the seat that Bainum occupied until his death. Before her time on the Council, Kobayashi was a long-serving state senator. The district is hers.

The spin on all this revolves not around Caldwell and Kobayashi, but with Hannemann and his bid for governor.

When he leaves City Hall he needs someone to keep the barbarians (City Council members) from the gates, and then if he wins, someone who will continue to build the Oahu rail system.

What he doesn't need is someone running for mayor charging that under Hannemann the city is a mess and it needs a clean sweep. Hannemann's task will be to run for governor with one hand on the gubernatorial steering wheel, while the other hand is straightening up the mayoral kids in the back seat.

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Richard Borreca writes on politics every Wednesday. Reach him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)