Case and Hirono, Together at Last

Chad Blair/Civil Beat

Ed Case did not wait terribly long to try and score debating points against Mazie Hirono at a candidate forum Tuesday on tourism.

The former congressman said the current congresswomen's sponsorship of a piece of legislation called the VISIT USA Act, which is intended to spur overseas travel to the islands, had only six co-sponsors and had failed to move out of committee.

He said Hirono had waited until near the end of three two-year terms in Congress to push the bill.

"People need a senator that works all six years, not just in an election year," he said.

Hirono was prepared.

Saying the act was supported by advocates for both business and labor, she asked members of the forum audience to raise their hands if they thought the VISIT USA Act was a bad bill.

"I see no hands," said Hirono, triumphantly.

Mind you, the candidates were addressing the Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Association, a group predisposed to wanting more tourists in the islands.

But Hirono demonstrated she can handle Case, who trails badly in campaign fundraising, some polls (but not others) and support of hardcore Democrats who will vote in the Aug. 11 primary.

Supporters of both candidates could walk away feeling (mostly) good about the appearance, their first of five this season. I'd give Case the edge in argument and ideas, Hirono the edge in composure and message and Republican John Carroll points for getting big laughs.

Even with Carroll sharing the microphone — Linda Lingle declined to attend — the several dozen in attendance finally got a chance to size up Case and Hirono.

And, some good news: KITV live-streamed the forum and has posted several avenues in which to review it.

Meantime, here's Civil Beat's highlights.

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