Kaili Kane, 5, daughter of Linda Lingle's campaign Chairman Micah Kane, came to say hello to the Republican gubernatorial candidate after Lingle's speech at the Republican Party Unity Gathering, which was held at Lingle's campaign headquarters today.

Republicans say
they are ready to
battle Democrats

Democrats flying high

By Rod Antone

GOP gubernatorial nominee Linda Lingle quoted a Democrat to spur the crowd at the Hawaii Republican Party Unity Gathering today.

In her opening speech, she said that it was defeated Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ed Case who had once said that things in Hawaii will remain status quo because his opponent in the primary, Lt. Gov. Mazie Hirono, had no plan for the state.

"Ed Case is right; things won't change!" Lingle shouted as the applause swelled. "She has no plan!"

Based on the look of the crowd at Lingle's Ala Moana headquarters, the Republican plan is to introduce as many new candidates as possible to the voters.

Candidates like professional bodyboarder Carol Phillips, who said she's ready to "paddle out" into the world of politics.

Phillips ran uncontested in the primary for House district 46 and faces Democrat Michael Magaoay in November.

"I'm really excited about the general election. ...I can't wait," Phillips said. "After years of organizing surfing events, I started becoming more aware of the political climate in Hawaii and I knew that I had to get involved."

Former state representative Charles Djou was one of the original "young Republican freshmen" who ran for office in 1998. Now a candidate for a Honolulu City Council seat, Djou said it's been great to see the party develop right before his eyes.

"I see the party (candidates) getting younger and have more diversity," he said. "But the most important thing is it's getting bigger, as well."

From left, Democrats Romy Cachola, Neil Abercrombie, Ben Cayetano, Mazie Hirono and John Waihee sang "Hawaii Aloha" at the Democratic Unity Breakfast this morning at Dole Cannery. The breakfast was a kickoff to the party's Flight to Victory, in which party members flew to various locations statewide to rally supporters.

Democrats fly high
with their victories

By Craig Gima

HILO >> Democrats took their unity show on the road -- or rather to the air -- today after their traditional post-election breakfast.

The state party rented an Aloha Airlines jet to ferry standard-bearers Mazie Hirono and Matt Matsunaga, former gubernatorial candidates Ed Case and D.G. "Andy" Anderson, and other top candidates and party officials to rallies on the Big Island, Maui and Kauai.

The "Flight to Victory" cost the party about $30,000, officials said.

Hirono told Democrats in Hilo that the neighbor islands have been a strong source of support for every Democratic gubernatorial candidate since John Burns.

"We are not about to lose the most Democratic state in the U.S.," she said.

U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie got cheers when he noted that Democrats have come back from tough, contested primary campaigns before.

"That's when we had our greatest victories," he said.

Big Island councilman Russell Kokubun said while the Big Island went to Lingle in 1998, it went for Al Gore in 2000.

He said this election will depend on the candidate and if people feel comfortable with and trust the candidate. Democrats have the better candidate, he said.

Also on the "Flight to Victory" was Terry McAuliffe, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, who told the party faithful that the national party would not take Hawaii for granted anymore.

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