Court OKs Harris
run without resigning

The mayor must quit only
when he files nomination papers

By Gordon Y. K. Pang and Rick Daysog

Mayor Jeremy Harris can run for governor without resigning until he files nomination papers, the Hawaii Supreme Court ruled today.

The high court reversed a Circuit Court decision that said Harris, the leading Democratic candidate for governor, should have resigned as mayor when he filed papers to run for the office in May of last year.

Chief Justice Ronald Moon and associate justices Steven Levinson, Mario Ramil and Paula Nakayama sided with the decision. An opinion in part dissenting and concurring was issued by Associate Justice Simeon Acoba Jr.

"We hold that .... a public officer becomes 'eligible as a candidate for another public office' at the time he or she files nomination papers for the second office," the opinion by Moon said.

The suit was brought by former legislator and judge Russell Blair, who argued a strict interpretation of the state's resign-to-run constitutional amendment.

Rick Tsujimura, co-chairman of the Harris 2002 campaign, said Harris plans to restart his gubernatorial campaign shortly.

"Obviously we're pleased that the Supreme Court has upheld the interpretation that's been in place for two decades," said Tsujimura.

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