Carlisle to run for mayor when Hannemann leaves


POSTED: Thursday, July 09, 2009

Honolulu Prosecutor Peter Carlisle ended speculation on his political ambitions yesterday, announcing plans to pursue a run at the mayor's office.

When he does will depend on the incumbent.

Mayor Mufi Hannemann's second — and final — term ends in 2012, but he has formed an exploratory committee to decide on whether to run for governor next year.

Carlisle said the mayor's job seemed like a “;natural progression”; for him, noting that the only elected executive positions at the county level are mayor and prosecutor.

“;Many people have described themselves as being comfortable with me in this particular position,”; Carlisle said at a news conference yesterday. “;That's not going to last forever. That can't last forever.”;

He said he feels the time to leave is right because crime rates are at historical lows and the prosecutor's office has capable deputies and supervisors who would be able to “;carry the banner”; once he leaves.

“;Basically, since the office has good people right now and it's running well, it's time for me to let the next generation step over,”; he said.

He becomes the first declared candidate for the mayor's race, should Hannemann leave early.

Speculation on Hannemann's successor also has focused on city Managing Director Kirk Caldwell, the former House majority leader who joined the mayor's staff in January.

;[Preview]  Honolulu prosecutor Peter Carlisle running for mayor

Carlisle says he will jump in the race next year if Mayor Hannemann steps down to run for governor, or in three years when Hannemann's mayoral term ends.

Watch ]


As managing director, Caldwell is next in succession to the mayor and would be appointed acting mayor if Hannemann steps down. A special election would be needed to select a permanent successor, but Caldwell could be a formidable opponent as acting mayor.

“;I think what I'm learning — the skill sets I'm developing — puts me in a very good position should the mayor's position open up,”; Caldwell said yesterday. “;So I would seriously consider doing so, should that happen.

“;I think it would be an easy transition from the job I have today, to being the mayor.”;

He applauded Carlisle's decision to run, saying, “;Whenever there's an election, giving people choice is very important for our democracy.”;

Carlisle claimed his fourth term as prosecutor last year, with no opposition for the seat. His last campaign was in 2004, when he beat Keith Kaneshiro, another former prosecutor.

Although the office is a nonpartisan post, Carlisle has been known as a Republican since at least 2006, when he was chairman of the party's state convention. He served as chairman in 2007 and has been listed among the party's candidates on the state GOP Web site.


Peter Carlisle

» Age: 56

» Job: Honolulu prosecutor; first elected in 1996; re-elected in 2000, 2004, 2008

» Previous experience: partner at Shim Tam Kirimitsu Kitamura and Chang, 1989-96; deputy prosecutor, director of career criminal unit, trials division chief, 1978-1988