Prognosticating Primary Winners

Bob Jones
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Wednesday - September 01, 2010
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I’m out of town this month, so you can blister me when I’m back if I’m way off the mark in my guesses for the Sept. 18 primary election and winner-take-all mayor’s race.

I’m no political seer. I watch money, endorsements and man-on-the-street sentiment. It’s hard to factor in some people, like my waitress at The Counter in Kahala Mall, who came to America 10 years ago from Cambodia, speaks flawless English, but says she doesn’t know the candidates and doesn’t care.

Mufi Hannemann should have been a shooin for governor with his money and heavy union-plus-business endorsements and support of the Mormon Church (very big here). But then came that “I’m-local-you’renot” brochure, plus no civil unions and belief in prayer before decisions by him and his cabinet. Shoo-in dims.

Neil Abercrombie has the HSTA, Ben Cayetano and Ed Case in his corner. But there’s his age, 72. He looked old and his hands noticeably shook during that KHON debate. Also, “I always stand with labor” might not resonate this year.

We’ve become very centrist in Hawaii. MSNBC picks Neil, but I’m betting Mufi wins as occupier of the center.

Mayor? In a normal year I’d give the edge to best-known Peter Carlisle. But it’s not normal because Kirk Caldwell as acting mayor is the incumbent. Plus, Carlisle’s a Republican; Caldwell’s a Democrat in a still-heavy Democrat environment. Panos Prevedouros will drain off a batch of GOP voters. So I’d put my money on Caldwell.

The lieutenant governor’s race is too tough to call. Surely Lynn Finnegan for the GOP. On the other side, Brian Schatz, Gary Hooser and the conservative, family-values Norman Sakamoto each draws a following. I wish we allowed the governor candidates for the general to pick a running mate. I cannot imagine two worse ideology-and-brains opposites in charge than Abercrombie and Sakamoto.

Now about that Colleen Hanabusa and Charles Djou battle in the general in November. Oahu’s become more Republican. Even many of my old buddies in the 100th Infantry Battalion of World War II now vote that way.

But Djou will be lam-basted for voting against unemployment benefits, added veterans’ benefits and federal stimulus funds for Medicaid and schools. He would kill more than $600 million in stimulus money still coming to Hawaii.

Also, the DNC will have a 2-to-1 money lead over the RNC this fall. November is a long way off, but I see Hanabusa retaking the 1st District for the Democrats by a smallish margin.

Oh, one fascinating late happening: Sen. Dan Inouye told KITV’s Denby Fawcett (my wife) about that comparison brochure by Hannemann: “Sure, you can be proud of your spouses, but to say my wife is Japanese and yours is something else, that is not nice.” Slammeroo!

If Hannemann should lose this primary, blame that silly brochure and that speech about how “I look like you.”

We may sometimes think such things. Most of us never say them.

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