GOP picks offRepublicans will be a force in the Democrat-dominated state Legislature, having picked up seven seats in the House and one in the Senate.
7 House seats,
one in Senate
'Voters were frustrated with
the status quo,' says a Republican
who defeated an incumbent
from Windward Oahu
By Crystal Kua
"The voters were frustrated with the status quo," said Republican Charles Djou, who beat Democratic incumbent Rep. Iris Ikeda Catalani in Windward Oahu.
With the entire Legislature up for re-election in 2002, both Democrats and Republicans said the warning from the electorate this year is clear:
Shape up or ship out.
"The basic message from the voters ... is get with change or get out of the way and let somebody else do it," House Majority Leader Ed Case said.
"I think looking ahead we need to do the things that need to be done. "I guess to get re-elected we need to do the work of the people," said Sen. Brian Taniguchi, who handily defeated his Republican challenger in his district covering Manoa and Moiliili.
But with the Senate leaderless and the House now having enough Republicans to pull bills out of committee, the task of organizing both chambers should reflect this sentiment of change, lawmakers said.
"The Senate, I suspect, will be amenable to change generally," said Sen. Matt Matsunaga, who also won re-election..
"The people who will be in leadership will be more willing to take risks, challenge the status quo," he said.
The 51-member House will have 19 Republicans, up from 12.
The 25 senators will include three GOP members.
Besides Djou's race, the additional Republican seats came in the following races with Democrats:
Full-time campaigner Mindy Jaffe, 50, defeated Rep. Brian Yamane for the seat covering part of Waikiki, Kaimuki and Diamond Head, a district with 40 percent Republicans.Several Republican winners said Linda Lingle, Hawaii Republican Party chairwoman and apparent 2002 gubernatorial candidate, played a significant role in their campaigns.
William Stonebraker, 30, an assistant pastor, outdistanced Department of Education spokesman Greg Knudsen for the Hawaii Kai House seat that had been held by Democratic Rep. David Stegmaier, who opted not to run again.
Kamehameha Schools teacher Guy Ontai, 44, won the Mililani House district against Charlotte Nekota, who was appointed by the governor earlier this year to fill the seat temporarily. Ontai ran unsuccessfully for the seat in 1998 against Democratic incumbent Ron Menor.
Attorney Joe Gomes beat incumbent Rep. Kenny Goodenow for the seat covering Kailua to Waimanalo.
Former Maui Fire Chief Ron Davis outpaced Molokai, Lanai and West Maui incumbent Rep. Sol Kahoohalahala, who Democrats and Republicans said didn't do much campaigning.
Business executive Keith "Kika" Bukowski was victorious over Democrat J.J. Vroom and Aloha Aina candidate Malia Gibson in the race without an incumbent for the 10th House District (Kula, Pukalani, Makawao, Paia and Haliimaile) to replace outgoing Democratic Rep. David Morihara.
Sports personality Bob Hogue defeated retired physician Solomon Naluai for the Kaneohe Senate seat that had been held by Democrat Marshall Ige. Ige lost in the primary in the midst of campaign spending problems.
Democrats complained that Lingle's tactics used negative campaigning.
But her best wasn't quite enough to grab a few more races:
Democrat Brian Schatz was able to stave off a hard-fought Republican challenge by beating Sam Aiona.The squeaker of the evening came in the 20th Senate District (Ewa Beach, Makakilo, Kapolei) race between Democratic incumbent Brian Kanno and Republican challenger Hank Makini.
Democratic Maui Councilman J. Kalani English defeated Allen Shishido, former deputy parks director under then-Mayor Lingle, winning in the 5th Senate District, a seat vacated by Democratic Sen. Joe Tanaka.
Kanno's union-friendly positions and his vote against confirming former Attorney General Margery Bronster for another term made him so vulnerable that constituents were bombarded with campaign literature from Democratic top guns, including Gov. Ben Cayetano.
Makini held the lead throughout the evening. Many of Makini's supporters left his campaign celebration at the Hawaii Prince Golf Club in Ewa Beach just before midnight, thinking he had won.
But in the end, Kanno eked out the win by 79 votes -- 8,692 to 8,613.
Elections officials were conducting a hand count of the vote early today because of the close results.
Star-Bulletin reporters Richard Borreca, Suzanne Tswei and Gary Kubota contributed to this report.
Cayetano wanted vote report before polls closedGov. Ben Cayetano, who as lieutenant governor was the last elected official to oversee the state voting procedure, says he wanted the initial votes reported before polls close.
"To me it was just common sense, the people standing in line aren't watching TV," he said.
"When Dwayne worked for me, he disagreed," Cayetano said, but he added he made the initial vote total public at 6:30 p.m. before the polls officially closed.
Yoshina, however, said Cayetano had approved printing the results before all the polls closed but didn't release the results, as the elections office did last night.
Yoshina said he believed the initial results were released about 6:30 p.m., but by then all the precincts were closed.
The results aren't made public before the precincts close because "the Legislature said it didn't want to unduly influence a voter," he said.
Rep. Say to check on need for House reorganizationHouse Speaker Calvin Say said he will meet with House Democrats before deciding if there's a need to reorganize the House.
But House Majority Leader Ed Case said the House has no choice but to reorganize. The reorganization needs to reflect what "mainstream Hawaii" wants -- more Republicans and moderate, change-oriented Democrats in key positions, Case said.
Sen. Matt Matsunaga said the Senate will likely be reorganizing within the next week. He is part of a faction of 10 senators seeking to organize a majority of 13 senators.