[ ELECTION 2004 ]

At Liliuokalani Elementary School, fifth-graders studying U.S. history in Eric McCutcheon's class dressed in patriotic costumes and paraded around the school campus yesterday to encourage children to get their parents to vote. Among the students who yelled out "Vote!" were James Rapoza, left, Dylan Ching and Cody Saffery.

Time to choose

Races for Honolulu mayor and
prosecutor gain top billing today

Expected low voter turnout coupled with an uneventful primary campaign are combining to add uncertainty to today's primary election.

Hawaii Primary Election 2004

Voter information

Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. today. Registered voters should have received a yellow card with information on their polling place. A picture ID with a signature on it is required at the polls.

For information or to report problems, call 453-VOTE (8683) on Oahu or county clerks on the neighbor islands: Big Island, 961-8277; Maui, 270-7749; Kauai, 241-6350.

Star-Bulletin Voter's Guide

With few races among either Democrats or Republicans, most attention on Oahu has turned to the nonpartisan campaigns for mayor of Honolulu and city prosecutor.

In the $4 million mayor's race, leading candidates Mufi Hannemann and Duke Bainum planned to be out on the campaign trail again with the goal of winning outright today and avoiding a runoff contest in the general election on Nov. 2.

Hannemann spent yesterday on his "Victory Express" trolley, which moved from Leeward Oahu throughout urban Honolulu.

"I feel tremendously upbeat, very optimistic. We're very enthused by the response, the reaction, the tremendous surge that's out there," Hannemann said during a stop in Waikiki as volunteers held signs and waved to passing motorists on Monsarrat Avenue. "The goal is to close the thing out tomorrow, but if we don't, we're prepared to go the long haul."

Minutes after Hannemann left Waikiki, Bainum and his wife, Jennifer Toma-Bainum, arrived at the Sheraton Princess Kaiulani Hotel to shake hands with hotel workers whose union, Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Local 5, has endorsed him.

"They know that their union is supporting me, and many of them say, 'I was planning to vote for you,'" said Bainum, who greeted workers with a handshake and fliers as they left work. "But what this is about is just confirming that and for me ... to reach out and say, 'Listen, I need your help tomorrow.'"

Hannemann and Bainum are joined by eight other candidates, including former Mayor Frank Fasi.

Mufi Hannemann flashed a shaka sign yesterday at Ala Moana Boulevard and Kamakee Street as his "Victory Express" trolley made its way through urban Honolulu.

A candidate can win outright today with 50 percent of the vote plus one. If no one gets that, the top two finishers move on to the general election, where the winner needs a majority of votes.

The one sure bet in Honolulu elections is that the new prosecutor will be known by tomorrow.

Prosecutor Peter Carlisle is running against former Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro. With only two people in the race, one is guaranteed of getting the needed majority and will be declared the winner.

Two controversial Democrats battling to preserve their seats in the state Senate are providing most of the excitement in the partisan contests.

Both incumbents, Sens. Melodie Aduja (D, Kahuku-Kaneohe) and Cal Kawamoto (D, Waipahu) have been the subject of Campaign Spending Commission investigations and have been fined for violations.

In the Waipahu contest, Kawamoto said he has been the victim of bad press and an overly enthusiastic Campaign Spending Commission director, Bob Watada.

Duke Bainum, with his wife, Jennifer Toma-Bainum, greeted Princess Kaiulani Hotel workers yesterday asking for their vote. Bainum shook hands with worker Elydia Saguibo, left.

Kawamoto, who said he expects to spend upward of $175,000 to keep his Senate seat, complains that he "is always the target" of investigations by the news media and Watada.

"We haven't gotten a fair shake," Kawamoto said, but added that his campaign has been positive and he expects to win.

Running against him is political newcomer Clarence Nishihara, a retired school vice principal.

"My responses have been very positive, and a lot of people said they already voted absentee for me," Nishihara said.

To win today, Nishihara said he needed to convince voters that the spending commission investigations of Kawamoto show he should not be returned to office.

"Public perception of a candidate's honesty will be what turns this election," Nishihara said.

In the Windward race, Aduja faces Clayton Hee, a former senator and Office of Hawaiian Affairs chairman.

After the spending commission levied a $9,000 fine against Aduja for submitting incorrect and false campaign records, Hee started stressing honesty as his major campaign issue.

Aduja has responded with an ad attacking Hee, claiming that his controversial record at OHA makes him a poor choice for the district.



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