State Rep. Ed Case (D, Manoa), with his wife, Audrey, by his side, arrived outside the lieutenant governor's office yesterday to file nomination papers as a candidate for governor.

Case officially enters
race for governor

The Democrat pledges a campaign
promoting fiscal responsibility

By Richard Borreca

State Rep. Ed Case became the first major candidate to file for governor yesterday.

The four-term House member promised a low-budget, grass-roots campaign that would emphasize the differences between himself and his possible Democratic opponents, D.G. "Andy" Anderson and Honolulu Mayor Jeremy Harris.

"I do not come out of the same political culture that they do," said Case (D, Manoa).

"I think we need responsible change in Hawaii. I think we can run our government on a fiscally responsible basis. We cannot borrow from the future to pay present bills," he told supporters.

Case filed his nomination papers for governor yesterday at the state Capitol before about 50 family members and supporters.

The 49-year-old private attorney is making his first bid for statewide office. Before winning his Manoa house seat in 1994, Case ran unsuccessfully for the state House in 1986 and the Senate in 1988.

He explains that his interest in politics was kindled while serving as a legislative aide to Spark Matsunaga, the late congressman and senator. After working in Washington, D.C., for three years, Case returned to Hawaii as a clerk for former state Supreme Court Justice William Richardson. He joined the law firm of Carlsmith Ball and served as managing partner from 1992 to 1994.

In the House, Case was Democratic leader and helped move several state civil service reform measures, but a series of disputes with the House leadership forced him to give up his majority leadership post last year.

In his remarks yesterday, Case criticized the recently passed state budget, which he voted against on the House floor.

"This budget is unbalanced as we sit here today," Case said yesterday. "The next governor's major immediate problem is going to be balancing the budget," Case warned.

Before he can tackle the state budget, Case will have to solve the problem of getting money for his own statewide campaign. Campaign reports show that he had about $58,000 at the beginning of the year, compared with the more than $1 million that Harris reported and the $59,000 raised by Anderson. Republican Linda Lingle reported a campaign treasury of more than $660,000. The final major GOP candidate, John Carroll, reported about $4,000.

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