Meet Kawika Crowley, Candidate for Congress

Chad Blair/Civil Beat

Only one person stands between Tulsi Gabbard and the U.S. Congress, but many people in Hawaii probably never heard of him.

Gabbard, the former Honolulu City Council member and state lawmaker, shocked many with her come-from-way-behind primary victory over Mufi Hannemann in the Democratic primary for the 2nd Congressional District.

Hawaii Democrats' newest rock star, Gabbard is already being called congresswoman-elect by many, given Hawaii's penchant for sending Democrats to Washington.

But Gabbard's general election opponent, David "Kawika" Crowley, is not conceding anything.

He trounced GOP primary opponent Matt DiGeronimo 45-29 percent and earned more votes — 9,056 — than better-known congressional candidates such as John Carroll, Esther Kiaaina and Bob Marx.

Crowley, 61, is a self-employed handyman and painter who has never held elective office. But he's no stranger to politics and government.

A self-described "college dropout with a degree in common sense," Crowley has been the most visible proponent of smokers' rights.

He is not hesitant to share his views on other matters, either. Consider his response to Civil Beat's candidate survey asking if he supported President Obama's controversial policy regarding the use of drones:

You damn right I support this policy. Due Process? We're in a WAR for cryin' out loud! Collateral Damage to civilians? I swear, had we fought WWII in the Politically Correct manner we fight our enemies today, we'd all be speaking German, Japanese, or Italian!!! BTW, only 2 things Obama has done right in his entire presidency is taking out the scumbag Ben Laden, and increasing the use of Drones.

Of course, he meant Osama bin Laden. But no matter.

Civil Beat sat down with Crowley to talk about about his candidacy last week at O'Toole's Irish Pub in downtown Honolulu. It was his preferred meeting place so that he could smoke his King Edward cigars during the interview.

In this first installment of a two-part interview, Crowley explains why his campaign centers on the need to apply common sense to fix what he calls a dysfunctional Washington.

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