Hawaii Republican Caucuses: Lihue, Kauai

Jon Letman

LIHUE, KAUAI — On a night when presidential hopeful Rick Santorum basked in the glow of a double ‘Southern Fried’ win in Mississippi and Alabama, voters in the country’s geographically southernmost state went to vote in the state’s first-ever binding GOP presidential caucus.

Barely an hour after Rick Santorum was named the winner of the two southern primaries, voters on Kauai began arriving at The Aloha Church just mauka of the Kaumualii highway in central Lihue where voting began at 6 p.m.

Among the first to vote were Kapaa residents Joe and Gini Stoddard. Joe Stoddard said he was “probably voting for Mitt Romney.”

Why Romney?

“He’s been a governor so he’s got some knowledge of politics and what not ... but he gets a little cocky once in a while. No big deal,” Stoddard said. “I’m 90 now and I’ve been through a lot of these elections. Some of them have been good and some of them bad.”

Gini Stoddard said she cast her vote for Rick Santorum. After watching most of the Republican debates she liked Santorum’s "attitude."

“I like the way he comes across,” she said, “I think he’s honest. I don’t quite have that feeling about Romney.”

Overseeing the voting in Lihue was Department of Land and Natural Resources board member Ron Agor, interim chair for District 15 - Lihue. As voting began with an initial spurt of people, he said he was excited but had told his volunteer staff of eight that it might not be an eventful night but, he said, “I’m surprised. I’m very surprised. People showing up — a steady stream.”

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