to hit jackpot
Some candidates say winning is
a long shot but still a possibility
One is a former teen actor and a singer who regularly appears in Las Vegas. Another is a former prosecutor who equates his chance of winning to "hitting a jackpot in Vegas." Another believes he'll win if people just read his autobiography. And one boasts a background in the "adult entertainment and sex industry."
They are among the lesser-known and less-likely-to-win candidates seeking to replace three of Hawaii's Democrats on Capitol Hill.
Many of them, particularly those taking on 80-year-old seven-term U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye, strongly argue that it's time for change.
Most of the candidates have posted profiles on the state elections Web site.
Brian Evans, who has appeared on TV's "Full House" and "Beverly Hills 90210," divides his time between Kihei, Maui and Las Vegas, where he has regular singing gigs. A Democrat, he said he decided to run for the U.S. Senate after writing to Inouye and U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka on behalf of a 14-year-old boy who had no dental insurance. He said he received no response from Akaka and only a "generic" form letter from Inouye.
"The only way these people listen to you is if you are competing with them," Evans said. "Even if I lose, when they win they will have to at least promise to address at least some of what I am saying."
Although Eddie Yoon compared his chances of defeating Inouye to winning a casino jackpot, he added that it could happen. The former prosecutor in Tacoma, Wash., said "no position of leadership can or should last forever."
Rich Payne, a 33-year-old Kailua-Kona pharmacist seeking the Republican U.S. Senate nomination, also cites the need for change. "After more than 40 years of the same person representing us, Hawaii is long overdue for a new fresh set of ideas and ideals," he said.
While many of the congressional candidates said they are running to give voters another choice, several said they are motivated by specific issues.
Former state Rep. Cam Cavasso, a Republican, said he is running for the Senate because of Inouye's position against a federal constitutional amendment establishing marriage as a union between one man and one woman.
James DeLuze, a physician, noted that he has run for Congress five times since 1992 on the issues of health care. The GOP Senate candidate said that he still is concerned about rising health care costs.
Another Republican, attorney Jay Friedheim, calls himself "Friedheim the Frugal" and promises the "most fiscally conservative Senate campaign in Hawaii's history." He also promised to "urgently and passionately" fight deficit spending.
J. Turner Brown, a nonpartisan Senate candidate, said other unknown office-seekers have been elected on the basis of their autobiographies. He hopes his book, "The World Is Everybody's Home," will do the same for him.
With Elyssa Young's background in adult entertainment, "for once you will get an honest person in office," said Young, a Libertarian candidate for the 1st District House seat (urban Honolulu).
Jonathan Treat, a Maui chiropractor and former Marine, supports a constitutional amendment to ban burning the U.S. flag. The Republican candidate in the 2nd Congressional District (Rural Oahu-Neighbor Islands) also noted that while studying at the University of San Francisco, he and his wife danced hula with kumu Patrick Makuakane.