Frank Fasi and Mufi Hannemann shook hands yesterday during a news conference at Hannemann headquarters.

Fasi declares
retirement as he
backs Hannemann

A political scientist doubts
the longtime politician will
remain out of the spotlight

After running in nearly every election during the last 50 years, former Mayor Frank Fasi says he is calling it quits after his latest defeat.

Fasi in politics

1950-56: Democratic national committeeman
1958-59: Territorial senator
1965-69: City councilman
1969-80: Mayor
1985-1994: Mayor
1994: Ran for governor and lost to Ben Cayetano

"I think I've had it," Fasi, 84, said yesterday. "The last hurrah has taken place."

Fasi announced at a news conference that he was throwing his support behind Mufi Hannemann for mayor.

"The new hurrah is going to be to make sure that we have the right person as the mayor of the City and County of Honolulu, and that's Mufi Hannemann," Fasi said.

But with Fasi's perennial candidacy, his declaration of political retirement drew immediate skepticism.

Political scientist Neal Milner said he will wait until the next election before writing Fasi off. "We've always talked about him running and not him not running," Milner said. "It's too soon to recognize if that's the case."

Fasi came in third in the Sept. 18 primary election with nearly 10 percent of the vote. Former City Councilman Duke Bainum was the top vote-getter, and Hannemann came in second. Because none received 50 percent plus one vote, Bainum and Hannemann advance to the Nov. 2 general election.

From the Territorial Legislature to Congress, Fasi has run repeatedly for office since the early 1950s.

He first ran for mayor in 1952 but lost in the Democratic primary.

His first victory came in 1958 when he won a seat in the territorial Senate.

In 1965 he won a seat on the City Council, and three years later was elected mayor, a job he would hold for 22 years.

He lost his 1980 re-election bid but four years returned as mayor. In 1994 he resigned to run for governor, losing to Ben Cayetano.

Since then, Fasi has failed at another bid for governor, three more races for mayor and one for Congress.

During the latest campaign, Fasi floated ideas that included developing a casino on Midway atoll.

"This is not necessarily about winning for him," Milner said. "It's also about his own image, his belief in how he contributes."

Fasi and Hannemann appeared together at Hannemann's headquarters for the endorsement announcement. Fasi was wearing a "Got Mufi" button, and Hannemann was wearing a Fasi button with the familiar yellow shaka logo.

Hannemann said the endorsement will give a big boost to his campaign's momentum.

"I have to say this has to rank with the one of the greatest highlights and achievement of my public service career thus far -- to have the endorsement of a man that I have respected and admired greatly through the years," said Hannemann, who then sang a few bars of an old Fasi campaign jingle.

The Bainum campaign said it did not seek Fasi's endorsement.

"We've always maintained that Mayor Fasi's supporters are probably even more independent than he is, and they will certainly be able to make up their own minds on who to vote for," Bainum said. "And we feel like this will have very little impact, if any, on the campaign."

Bainum supporter Councilman Gary Okino, speaking on behalf of the campaign, said the distinction is that "Duke is independent and not tied to the old-boy network. ... It's clear Duke wants to separate himself from the past."

Fasi said he believes his support will result in votes for Hannemann.

"I think about 99 percent of the people (who voted for me) will vote (for Hannemann) because I asked them to vote for Mufi. I want to be conservative," he quipped.

Mufi Hannemann campaign
www.votemufi.com Duke Bainum campaign



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