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Monday, November 27, 2000

Hawaii GOP
ready to party

Bush and Gore campaign
leaders here both look forward
to a final decision

By Treena Shapiro

Now that Florida officials have certified Texas Gov. George W. Bush's 537-vote lead after the state's recount, state Rep. Barbara Marumoto is ready to plan a party.

Marumoto, chairwoman of Hawaii's Bush-Cheney campaign, had been planning to have a party to thank campaign workers this weekend, but the recount forced her to postpone it. "Now I can start planning a victory celebration," she said.

But State Sen. Robert Bunda, a Democrat who has been picked to be Senate president, said he doesn't think it's over yet. "I just hope the recounting continues, at least so that we get an accurate count."

Vice President Al Gore should continue to contest the results "up to a certain point," Bunda said.

"With the election being this close, I think it could go either way, to tell you the truth," he said. "It's only 500 votes separating them. It's phenomenally close."

Ultimately, it will be up to the U.S. Supreme Court to decide whether the certification will be accepted, he said. "We need a winner. We need somebody to be certified."

Marumoto said she's elated by the results and would like the contest to come to an end. "I think I would prefer to see a very gracious concession speech instead of more legal gymnastics," she said. "There's got to be an end sometime. The nation is strung out."

By challenging the results, Gore is just postponing the inevitable, she said. "This is a time to bring the country together and heal the wounds and go into the Christmas season with a desire to unite the country."

But both Marumoto and Bunda said that uniting the country would be difficult. No matter who wins the presidency, "hostilities based on what happened may intensify," Bunda said.

"I think Bush is very cognizant of the close election and will really reach out to all parties to try to bring people together," Marumoto said. She added, however: "It really takes two parties to bring people together. If the Democrats are going to continue to be contentious, then it really does not help the country move forward."

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