Bet On It: Neil Runs For Governor

Bob Jones
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Wednesday - July 25, 2007
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Charles Djou
Charles Djou

City Councilman Charles Djou says he’d have told Our Town’s astute political journalists exactly what he told me. They’ve just never asked him (as I did) if he’s really running for lieutenant governor in 2010.

The answer is: Of course not. But he (and Donovan Dela Cruz, Rod Tam and Gary Okino) reaches his term limit that year. Djou wants to raise money for higher office. If he doesn’t specify an available one, he’d have to forfeit his funds - now about $150,000 but certain to go much higher - when his term ends in 2010. So he picked lieutenant governor as a money parking space while he figures out what he really wants to run for.


He’s been in the state House and doesn’t want to go back there. He could go for the state Senate but he’s a Republican and would have to run against incumbent Fred Hemmings. That’s a party-player’s no-no. He could go for mayor in 2008, but you realistically can’t run when you have barely 10 percent of Mufi Hannemann’s war chest. So Djou stays in the Council next year.

That makes 2008 something of a snoozer election year unless senators Dan Akaka or Dan Inouye should resign for health reasons or die. That would set off a scramble of stunning proportions.

But 2010, that’s a triple-witching year. Governor, both Congress seats, and Inouye’s seat will be contested. On the side, we’ll have four open City Council seats and lieutenant governor.

Neil Abercrombie
Neil Abercrombie

Neil Abercrombie seems a sure bet to come home to run for governor because Inouye will stand for re-election that year if his health holds up. But will Hawaii’s increasingly middle-road voters go for the liberal congressman in Washington Place rather than Washington, D.C? Maybe, if the only choice should be Abercrombie or Duke Aiona.

But Ed Case seems to me to have the hottest hand of the players right now. Middle-road Democrat. Unlike Hannemann or Abercrombie, no constituents made unhappy by decisions an in-office politician has to make. Case gained a ton of exposure in the 2006 Senate race and most people said they really liked and trusted him - they just weren’t ready to retire the courtly Akaka or had problems with his early support of the Iraq war.

Ed Case
Ed Case

Case claims he’s waiting for another shot at the Senate. I don’t think he’d sneer at the governor’s race if it’s that or a run against Inouye.

There are some non-viable candidates right now for high office. You’d be hard-pressed to find many outside her family and staff who don’t think Colleen Hanabusa blew her hard-charger image through her feeble management this term as state Senate president. I bet many of you don’t even know she’s the Senate president!

Mazie Hirono hasn’t found any traction yet in the U.S. House. Anybody surprised by that? She never had much traction as lieutenant governor or as the Democratic candidate for governor.


Duke Bainum disappeared after very narrowly losing the mayor’s race in 2004. Out of sight, and now 100 percent out of mind.

All that, and I haven’t touched what becomes of Linda Lingle when she’s term-limited out of the governor’s office in 2010. Run against Inouye?

Run for Congress?

Only the Shadow knows.

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