The 2010 Race For Gov Starts Early

Larry Price
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Wednesday - June 13, 2007
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The last time the taxpayers participated in a gubernatorial election it cost somewhere in the vicinity of $8 million. No one is sure how much electing the next governor of the state of Hawaii will cost in 2010, but most agree it will exceed that $8 million record.

Be forewarned that someone or some group is going to start knocking on your door looking for discretionary money.

That’s because there is a law in Hawaii that says anytime anyone spends more than $100 to seek an elective office they must notify the Campaign Spending Commission in the form of a organizational paper.

It’s the signal that the battle has begun.

Hot out of the blocks is Lt. Gov. James “Duke” Aiona. He’s served as lieutenant governor for more than four years, was a former deputy prosecutor and a family court judge.

If timing is important, he is definitely a very attractive candidate.

He certainty has name recognition in his favor.

There is sure to be a host of potential candidates. It is something the media loves to do. Many in the media like to think they can write stories that will enhance their favorite, thereby giving them better access to the political process if their efforts have a favorable effect.

Within a hour of Aiona filing his organizational papers, political pundits were expounding on what the race would look like.

Because this is a Democratic town, their list hit the coconut wireless first:

U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie is the early on favorite for the Democrats.

Former U.S. Rep. Ed Case is popular with the Internet crowd.

And energetic Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann is probably further ahead of all the rest.

The sleeper for the Democrats is Senate President Colleen Hanabusa, whose clever behind-the-scenes maneuvers are legendary at the Legislature.

Mind you, none of these is a “formal” announcement.

I believe it is worth watching how the people of Hawaii elect their governor.

With half of the state’s eligible voters not interested, and another third of the registered voters who choose not to vote in the general election, the small segment of voters who pick the next governor is a hard-core group.

This is not meant to suggest that Aiona will go unchal-

lenged in the GOP primary three years from now. He is sure to be challenged, and that is probably a good thing, because it will make him refine his platform, his message and galvanize his support.

But more important, Hawaii is a difficult fundraising environment and to succeed he needs to find the magic connection on every island.

So fasten your seatbelt and hang on to your wallet, it’s going to be a long three years before anything is cast in stone.

The race has started and it’s going to be exciting - more exciting than the last gubernatorial election.

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