Kucinich heads to isles
as Inouye supports Kerry
The front-runner plans no visit
here before Tuesday's caucuses
Presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry got a boost from Hawaii's senior senator yesterday and opponent Rep. Dennis Kucinich planned to be in Hawaii today as local Democrats prepared to choose which candidate they will support to oppose President Bush in November.
U.S. Senator Daniel Inouye reaffirmed his support for fellow senator John Kerry yesterday at a press conference at the Korean and Vietnam Veterans War Memorial at the state Capitol.
"He and I are veterans. He and I saw combat. He and I got purple hearts," Inouye said.
Kucinich has scheduled appearances to on Oahu, Maui, and the Big Island today.
CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARBULLETIN.COOM
U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye and Hawaii legislators expressed their support for U.S. presidential candidate John Kerry yesterday at a press conference held at the Korean and Vietnam Veterans War Memorial at the state Capitol.
Hawaii's Kucinich supporters got word of his trip Friday night, shortly after Kerry said he wouldn't be able to make it to Hawaii before Tuesday's caucuses, because aides were worried about the travel time required for a visit.
"The Hawaii voter base has a history of being more progressive than some states on the mainland," said Hawaii for Kucinich co-chairman Bart Dame. "We were planning on winning three or four delegates. (With Kucinich's visit), it's very likely to lead to more people."
Hawaii Democrats are holding caucuses Tuesday night.
According to Hawaii's Democratic Party, about 3,000 voters are expected to come out for the caucuses. Any registered candidate who gets more than 15 percent of the caucus vote will win a proportion of the state's 20 delegate pledges, regardless of whether the candidate is still in the race.
Joshua Wisch, Hawaii for Dean chair, said he's urging Vermont Gov. Howard Dean supporters to vote for the former presidential candidate.
"We have a tremendous amount of grassroots support of ... thousands of people around the state," he said. "We're going to do everything that we can to win Hawaii for Gov. Dean," Wisch said.
A spokesman with Hawaii for Edwards could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Hawaii for Kucinich members hope the candidate's appearance in the islands will move followers for Dean or Wesley Clark, who also dropped out of the race earlier this month, to join the Ohio representative's campaign.
"His message has not really been going out," Dame said. "Much of the machine is consolidated around the Kerry campaign and to a lesser degree the Edwards campaign. We are the authentic grassroots campaign."
A rally for Kucinich will be held at the University of Hawaii's West Oahu campus at 4:30 this afternoon.
At 6 p.m., Kucinich will be at Studio One on King Street to speak and answer questions. The lawmaker will talk to supporters at 8 p.m. at the Maui Community College Student Lounge and then fly to the Big Island for an appearance at the Ka Huina Art Gallery in Hilo.