Challengers emerge
for Legislature seats

Both parties will field candidates
in 57 out of 63 available spots


Thursday, July 22, 2004

State Sen. Cal Kawamoto is the subject of a Campaign Spending Commission investigation. A story on Page A1 in yesterday's early edition incorrectly said he was the subject of a state Ethics Commission investigation.

The Honolulu Star-Bulletin strives to make its news report fair and accurate. If you have a question or comment about news coverage, call Editor Frank Bridgewater at 529-4791 or email him at

There are fewer free rides in this year's election for state Legislature seats, as Democrats and Republicans signed up to run in nearly all 63 races.

Election 2004
Yesterday was the deadline for candidates to file their nomination papers for the primary election on Sept. 18 and the general election on Nov. 2.

Two years ago, 13 legislative races went unopposed. This year, Democrats were able to put candidates in all but one legislative race and Republicans filled all but five races for the 63 seats.

About two dozen Republican candidates led by Gov. Linda Lingle rallied yesterday at their party headquarters and heard Lingle say she was elected "to bring about change ... and now we must bring this change to the Legislature."

In contrast, Democrats held a low-key rally at the state Capitol with about 20 new House candidates.

Brickwood Galuteria, Democratic chairman, repeatedly said the Democratic Party "is the party of aloha."

"In everything that we do, our decisions are based on Hawaii's concept of aloha," Galuteria said.

When asked about the Democrats repeated use of the word "aloha," Brennon Morioka, GOP chairman, shot back: "They are the party that said 'aloha' to Saddam," referring to a Democratic-sponsored resolution asking then-Iraq leader Saddam Hussein to practice the "aloha spirit."

Morioka challenged the Democrats, saying they "lied about their desire to work with the governor."

Morioka said Lingle had an "open-door policy" for all members of the Legislature, but the Democrats failed to respond.

"Everyone knows they have been purely political in their actions, and that has hurt our state," Morioka said.

The races will not be about Lingle, but about pocketbook issues, according to House Speaker Calvin Say, who said he wants to lower to cost of living in Hawaii.

"It is the high cost issues, the high cost of health care insurance, the high cost of utilities and the high cost of gasoline ... these costs affect everyone," Say said.

Before the Democrats and Republicans can battle each other, they must first win the Sept. 18 primary election.

Voters in Waipahu have one of the hottest races, with newcomer Clarence Nishihara, a retired public school vice principal, challenging Sen. Cal Kawamoto, a 10-year Senate veteran.

The main issue for the two Democrats is the effectiveness and record of Kawamoto, who is the subject of a State Ethics Commission investigation.

Kawamoto said he is being unfairly singled out by the commission and has not been provided with details of how he specifically exceeded campaign spending limits.

Nishihara said voters are also critical of Kawamoto for his support for the van cam, the failed traffic enforcement program.

"The voters have a perception of what he has done and they have a negative perception of his personality," Nishihara said.

Kawamoto said he plans to run a hard campaign and will make his contributions to community projects his main issue.

"I haven't failed my community yet," Kawamoto said.

State Elections office
Hawaii Democratic Party
Hawaii Republican Party


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