Mayoral candidates Duke Bainum, left, and Mufi Hannemann talked to reporters just after last night's televised debate.

Candidates make
no tax promises

Both refuse to reveal
how they voted in
the presidential race

Mayoral candidates Duke Bainum and Mufi Hannemann refused to divulge for whom they voted for president during a live KITV4 News mayoral candidate debate last night.

The men, both Democrats, have already voted. When pressed about the answer and asked if they had the political courage to reveal their choice, Bainum said: "I have plenty of political courage; that's why I'm running for mayor. The fact is it serves no purpose to talk about individuals. I think you ought to look at the qualities that they represent, and I find qualities on both sides of Mr. Bush and Mr. Kerry that are worthwhile."

Hannemann said: "I think Mr. Bainum and I are being politically akamai tonight. We're in a nonpartisan race. I feel very little positive impact for us to reveal who we're going to vote for president."

Hannemann said that while he is a Democrat, he has ties to both Sen. John Kerry and President Bush.

The two appeared in an hourlong debate sponsored by KITV4 News, tackling issues including rail, property taxes, overdevelopment and whom they would vote for in the presidential race.

Both also would not say whether they would lower property tax rates during a time of skyrocketing assessments.

"I'm not ready to make that commitment yet," Hannemann said. "I've always said that the next mayor really has to get a better handle on what our debt is, what (our) finances are really like."

Bainum believes "that's unlikely," he said. "I don't want to create false hopes for people. But certainly if we find ourselves in that position, I'd be happy to lower tax rates."

It didn't take long before the two were pointing out each other's flaws, with Bainum saying that Hannemann's stint as City Council chairman didn't go smoothly and Hannemann pointing out Bainum was "willing to go along" with Mayor Jeremy Harris while he was on the Council.

The answers to the presidential vote questions showed why he thought Hannemann did a better job than Bainum, said political scientist Neal Milner.

"I think (Hannemann) appeared more confident, and he appeared more relaxed. He was able to take hard questions and turn them to his advantage," said Milner, who was watching the debate at KITV.

He said Bainum looked less relaxed and tired.

Supporters of mayoral candidates Duke Bainum and Mufi Hannemann lined King Street before last night's debate.

Supporters of both candidates were outside the KITV studio on King Street sign-waving prior to the broadcast, and they said they hoped the debate would convince undecided voters to go their candidate's way.

"That's one of my greatest hopes, is that those who haven't made a decision yet will get to know Duke better and will vote for Duke," said Bainum supporter Ginny Meade.

Hannemann supporter Keoki McCabe also thought that the night looked good for Hannemann.

"I pray it is," McCabe said.

Hannemann and Bainum are coming off a Star-Bulletin/KITV poll that puts Hannemann 17 points behind Bainum. Whether Hannemann can turn public opinion around and equate last night's debate into enough votes to win remains to be seen.

"It's not about winning the debate, it's about winning the election," Milner said.


Candidates find good
in each other

Duke Bainum likes Mufi Hannemann's singing. Hannemann says he applauds Bainum's sincerity in running for mayor.

"I return the compliment in that regard, and maybe one day Duke and I can go and sing some karaoke together," Hannemann said last night during a live mayoral debate sponsored by KITV4 News.

At one point, the two candidates were asked by moderator Shawn Ching what they liked about each other.

"I think Mr. Hannemann is a very nice gentleman. He has a great singing voice," Bainum said. "Certainly as an individual, I think Mr. Hannemann is a fun-loving, smart individual."

Hannemann, who smiled broadly while listening to Bainum, said he believes that Bainum is sincere about his desire to be the next mayor.

"When he could've been a doctor and practicing medicine full time, he decided to lead a life of public service," Hannemann said.

Star-Bulletin staff

State Elections Office
Duke Bainum campaign
Mufi Hannemann campaign


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