Star-Bulletin Primary Election Guide 2004


Senators opened the 2004 session of the state Legislature in January with music and entertainment in the Senate chambers.

Parties jockey
for legislative control

Democratic Senators Aduja and
Kawamoto are among those who will
be facing primary election challenges

Senate and House candidates

Proving that they can be a feisty bunch, Democrats will fight it out in 13 of the 19 legislative races on primary election day.

Although all 51 state House seats and 12 of the 25 Senate seats are up this year, most of the battles will be in the general election, with Democrats facing off against Republicans. There are only 19 primary election contests.

Two critical primary election races are the Senate seats held by freshman Sen. Melodie Aduja (Kahuku-Kaneohe) and 10-year veteran Sen. Cal Kawamoto (Waipahu).

Aduja is opposed by former legislator and Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustee Clayton Hee, while Kawamoto is challenged by former Department of Education official Clarence Nishihara.

Senate President Robert Bunda supports both Aduja and Kawamoto, and both have helped elect him as Senate leader.

Bunda says that he expects both incumbents to return and help him retain control of the Senate next year. If either Hee or Nishihara win, it would open up challenges to Bunda's control of the Senate.

On a broader level, both Democrats and the GOP have committees working to raise money and organize supporters for the House and Senate races.

The GOP House political action committee, formed 10 years ago, supports incumbent GOP House members in primary elections and will help all GOP House candidates in the general election, Rep. Chris Halford (Makena-Kihei), chairman of the PAC, said.

"I think we will be very effective," Halford said.

Republican Gov. Linda Lingle is attempting to frame the election around her legislative issues that were rebuffed by the Democratic majority and Halford said a strong voter education program would be part of the House GOP plan.

The new political consultant hired by the Democrats to help their House campaign, Joshua Wisch, said his group is also working to raise money for the coming campaign.

Wisch declined to say how his political action committee, Citizens for Responsive Government, would handle the primary election where Democrats would be opposing each other. No Democratic incumbents, however, will face each other in the primary election.

Democrats will be fighting something of a holding action in the House because Lingle has targeted incumbent Democrats.

The balance of power now has the Democrats in control with a 36-vote majority.

Lingle needs three more GOP members to be able sustain a veto and 11 more GOP members to take control of the House.

Democrats, however, say Lingle's chances of beating that many incumbents are not good.

"We are looking to gain seats in this election," Sen. Bunda said.

State Office of Elections



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