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Friday, October 27, 2000

Campaign 2000


Big Island
4th House district
wide open to
four candidates

PAHOA, Hawaii -- The Big Island's Fourth House District is one of the few places in the United States with a three-party system.

The three-way split in the 100-mile-long Puna-Kau district could lead to a surprise win this year by dark horse Republican Robert Reed.

It could just as easily give victory to workhorse Democrat Helene Hale, active in Hawaii politics for 50 years, or it could expand Green Party pastures with victory for candidate Virginia Aste.

Libertarian Aaron Anderson is also running, but unlike the Greens, his party has never won a race in Hawaii.

The wide-open race to represent Puna-Kau was created this year when incumbent Democrat Robert Herkes left his seat to make an unsuccessful bid for mayor.

Republican Reed saw a rare opportunity.

Hale, whose experience includes a term as the equivalent of mayor in the 1960s, and Aste, who is active in numerous community groups, are both expected to be strong candidates.

But mindful that Hawaii Greens originated as an offshoot of the Democrats, Reed expects the two parties to split their strength among similarly minded voters.

That could open a gap for him as a Republican. The district's voters have shown little concern for party labels.

In the overlapping Sixth County Council district, voters have elected a Democrat, a Republican, and two Greens in the past decade.

Reed has run unsuccessfully for one office or another every election year since 1980. But he never accepted contributions before and never campaigned. This time, he is doing both.

The candidates are in fair agreement on the district's problems: drugs (although Anderson says the problem is overblown), no jobs, and water development, especially for dry Ocean View where residents depend on collecting sparse rain from rooftops.

Rep. Herkes got money appropriated for an exploratory water well, but Gov. Ben Cayetano has refused to release it. Critics say that's because the community voted for Cayetano's Republican opponent Linda Lingle in the last election.

Rod Thompson, Star-Bulletin



Aaron Anderson (L)
Background: Hemp advocate; frequent candidate for various offices

Virginia Aste (G)
Background: Former manager, Papaya Administrative Committee; helped write Puna Community Development Plan and Mainstreet Pahoa Strategic Plan

Helene Hale (D)
Former teacher; real estate agent
Background: Served on county Board of Supervisors 10 years; County Council 10 years; 1978 Constitutional Convention

Robert Reed (R)
Assistant, State Adult Protective Services
Background: U.S. Navy, 21 years, retired senior chief petty officer; foliage business operator; foster parent to more than 300 children Election Results
State Office of Elections

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