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Wednesday, November 8, 2000

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All islands
support Gore in
‘historic’ election


By Richard Borreca

No matter who wins the nation, Hawaii likes Al Gore and wanted him to be president.

The Democratic vice president won more than half the vote in all four counties, with Kauai providing the biggest margin at 60 percent.

"I felt good going into the race," said Lt. Gov. Mazie Hirono, chairwoman of the Gore Hawaii campaign.

So did Republican Rep. Barbara Marumoto, who before yesterday's national presidential photo finish, kept saying Bush had a chance of winning in Hawaii.

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When it appeared that Bush would win Florida and the presidential election outright, Walter Heen, Democratic Party chairman, worried that the combination of a Republican president and Congress would mean the repeal of years of Democratic legislation.

"The American public has been duped by the Republicans," Heen said. "They took a bar of soap, called him a presidential candidate and sold him like soap."

He worried that a Bush presidency would "threaten civil rights gains and threaten, if not destroy, women's rights," Heen said.

At the GOP headquarters, however, Marumoto saw a Bush victory as lower taxes and better schools and support.

"Also, I think the military will have a better morale, and there will be more help with Social Security," Marumoto said.

Then came the announcement that the Florida vote would be recounted, and no one could say who would win.

"I don't know what to think. This is historic. This is something we will remember for the rest of our lives," said Linda Lingle, GOP chairwoman.

Asked what she thought would happen, Lingle could only say "it is just unknowable."

Heen joked that with Bush's brother the governor of Florida, the Republicans cannot claim voter fraud.

"Who knows? I don't know what to think," Heen said.

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Akaka, Mink,
Abercrombie score
easy victories

By Gordon Pang

Hawaii's Democratic delegation will try to bring home federal funding although Congress, and possibly the presidency, may wind up under Republican control.

Sen. Daniel Akaka and House members Neil Abercrombie and Patsy Mink easily won re-election over Republican challengers.

The vote means that Hawaii will retain the same four-member delegation that has been going to Washington since 1990.

This may, however, be the first time that the four will face Republican rule in both houses and the presidency. Walter Heen, Hawaii Democratic Party chairman, said the combined experience of the four coupled with their common agendas will help ensure the federal government will look at the state's concerns. He said, "They've got a lot of chits they're going to be able to rely on."

"Because the issues are not going to be very easily resolved, whoever's in charge is going to have to look for votes -- and across party lines," Abercrombie said.

"I think we've done a good enough job because of our seniority," Akaka said.

Mink agreed: "This delegation has worked very closely together, and I think we've accomplished some wonderful things."

Hawaii GOP leaders and candidates said they believe the state's voters missed out on a Republican wave by re-electing the three Democrats.

"We had some qualified candidates, but they were underfunded, and they were up against formidable incumbents," said state House Minority Leader Barbara Marumoto.

During the campaign season, there were some rumblings that the party had not thrown enough support toward its congressional candidates. GOP Hawaii Chairwoman Linda Lingle, last night, acknowledged: "We did put most of our focus at the state Legislature. ... We feel that's where we build for our future."

Russ Francis said he likely will challenge for Mink's seat again in two years. Phil Meyers, who ran against Abercrombie, said he has not yet decided whether this, his first campaign, will be his last.

Akaka in good condition after hip surgery

Replacement hip surgery during the summer limited Sen. Daniel Akaka's campaigning this election year.

GOP challenger John Carroll, 70, even suggested that he believed Akaka had more health problems than the Democrats let on.

But the 76-year-old looked fit and walked with only a slight limp as he spent time yesterday greeting supporters at the Democratic Party headquarters on Halekauwila Street early in the evening. He then spent most of the rest of the evening with about 100 supporters at his second-story campaign office on King Street.

Akaka told supporters he's feeling fine and back to normal, except for the limp and a slight difficulty getting up from chairs.

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