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  • Hawaii Governor: Ige Defeats Aiona in Landslide Vote

    · By Chad Blair

    Democrat David Ige has been elected governor of Hawaii.

    Hours after the polls closed, Ige was ahead of Republican Duke Aiona by a wide margin — 49 percent of the vote compared with 37 percent for the former lieutenant governor.

    The Associated Press and other media outlets called the race for Ige about 8:30 p.m.

    Hawaii Independent Party candidate Mufi Hannemann came in third place with 12 percent, followed by Libertarian Jeff Davis with 2 percent.

    Gov.-elect David Ige speaks to supporters Tuesday night as his running mate, Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui, gives a thumb’s up.

    Cory Lum/Civil Beat

    The third round of results, released around 10 p.m., reflects about 340,000 votes. The next printout is expected at 11:30 p.m., and it will reflect nearly all votes cast.

    Ige, 57, will be Hawaii’s eighth governor since statehood in 1959 and the sixth Democrat to hold the office.

    “This journey started 16 months ago, and it really has been remarkable,” Ige told supporters at Democratic Party campaign headquarters in Moiliili just after 10 p.m. “From all of our families, we want to thank each and every one of you for the hours and hours you put into this campaign.”

    Ige added, “This election, more than any other, proves that it’s still people to people in the Democratic party.”

    ‘We’re Doing Very Awesome’

    When the first returns were announced, Democrats gathered at the Japanese Cultural Center, where the party gathered, reacted with loud, sustained cheers. That was the pattern for the rest of the evening too, as it became clear that their guy would win.

    Spencer Robinson, an Ige supporter who

  • Denby Fawcett: Digging Up Dirt and Opposition Research 101

    · By Denby Fawcett

    Hawaii’s candidates for governor and the 1st Congressional District may be too squeaky clean and Boy Scout-ish for any dirt to emerge about them in the upcoming election.

    It is difficult to imagine Democratic gubernatorial candidate David Ige — whose friends say the most scandalous thing he ever did was to “toilet paper” friends’ cars in college — involved in anything salacious.

    Or to imagine goodie-goodie Republican congressional candidate Charles Djou staggering down a Chinatown street after drinking too many mango margaritas at the Pig and the Lady.

    An image from one of several ads the Pacific Resource Partnership ran to attack former Hawaii Gov. Ben Cayetano in 2012.

    Screen shot

    Or born-again Catholic GOP contender Duke Aiona hanging out with a “lady of the night.”

    Or to envision Democratic congressional candidate Mark Takai, a war veteran and avid family man, running a gambling ring in Aina Haina.

    Not going to happen.

    “They are boringly clean,” says political analyst Neal Milner, who is a columnist for Civil Beat. “They are making for a very dull election.”

    Whether the candidates are dull or not, Hawaii voters should be prepared for negative attacks as the election gets closer and view the attacks skeptically.

    Most of Hawaii’s political campaigns — if they have the money — are digging deep and using what’s known as opposition research, or “oppo,” in the hopes of finding information to cast their opponents in a negative light.

    Oppo researchers hunt for a politician’s character flaws, but more routinely they gather information about the

  • Three Candidates, Three Views on Future of Fast-Growing Kakaako

    · By Anita Hofschneider

    Discontent with Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s policies in the state redevelopment district of Kakaako may have contributed to his political demise in the Democratic primary last month.

    Abercrombie accomplished what no other Hawaii governor had done since the district was carved out in 1976 — overseeing the addition at least another 4,500 housing units that will be built or permitted by the time he leaves office.

    But many residents have criticized the governor’s influence on the state redevelopment agency in charge of Kakaako and questioned whether the area’s infrastructure is prepared for such growth. Meanwhile, rising condo prices — and the relative lack of low-income housing in Kakaako — lead some to fear that the area is becoming “a playground for the elites.”

    A building crane at a construction site in Kakaako on July 21.

    PF Bentley/Civil Beat

    Hawaii’s top three gubernatorial candidates have some similar goals for the area, but different takes on how to accomplish them.

    Just how much difference a new governor would make depends on how many more buildings in Kakaako are permitted this year. One of the biggest landowners, Kamehameha Schools, has already received approval for 44 percent of its master plan, and the Hawaii Community Development Authority already has plans in the works for all of its developable land.

    Still, the election could affect how — and whether — Kakaako development continues its frenetic pace. Here’s a look at what each of the candidates has planned.

    Hannemann: Return to City Control

    Independent candidate Mufi Hannemann made headlines last month

  • Chad Blair: Republicans on Parade

    · By Chad Blair

    I’ve seen this parade before.

    Dozens of hopeful candidates from diverse walks of life, hopeful, excited, sporting banners and signs and buttons and T-shirts and stickers and websites, all believing this will be the election year that Hawaii elects more than a token representation of Republicans.

    I saw this parade just two years ago, when Linda Lingle and Charles Djou went down to defeat in runs for the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.

    I saw it as well in 2010, when Djou lost his re-election bid for the 1st Congressional District, Cam Cavasso was beat by the unbeatable U.S. Sen. Dan Inouye and Duke Aiona was felled in a gubernatorial landslide caused by Democrat Neil Abercrombie.

    Future governor, congressman and lieutenant governor? From left, Duke Aiona, Charles Djou and Elwin Ahu.

    Chad Blair/Civil Beat

    Some of the very same Republican candidates crowded the Kapiolani Park Bandstand on Saturday afternoon at a party unity rally, including Aiona, Djou and Cavasso again running for the same top seats.

    Same goes for state House of Representatives candidates Julia Allen and Carole Kauhiwai Kaapu, who failed to depose Democrats Calvin Say and John Mizuno in 2010 and 2012 but are back at it again.

    “A couple of weeks ago, friends, we had a hurricane here, and I’m not talking about the rain.” — Charles Djou

    Indeed, Allen, who can be seen sign-waving most election-season mornings at the corner of Waialae Avenue and St. Louis Drive, also ran against Say in 2004, 2006 and 2008. Say is no longer House speaker, but he

  • Thielen Donated to Hawaii GOP Candidates

    · By Chad Blair

    She’s running for state Senate as a Democrat but contributed to the 2010 Republican ticket.

  • Capitol Watch: June 13

    · By Chad Blair

    UPDATED 4:47 p.m. State drops appeal on PAC donations case; Nevada lawmaker tracked to Hawaii for bill signage; and Duckworth leaving VA.

  • Capitol Watch: Dec. 16

    · By Chad Blair

    Pot guru Roger Christie denied bail; Salary dispute in Kauai government; more from Inouye defending earmarks; Aiona takes VP job at alma mater; and Hawaii audit on Arizona prison contracts expected soon.

  • Abercrombie Spent $4.6M on Winning Campaign

    · By Nanea Kalani

    Final election reports show Democrat Neil Abercrombie spent $4.6 million on his winning campaign for governor, Republican James “Duke” Aiona spent $3.5 million.

  • Duke Aiona’s Transformation: ‘Praying at the Government Gate’

    · By Chad Blair

    Civil Beat examines chapters by Duke Aiona and Gary Okino in a book that details a religious group’s designs on converting Hawaii’s government.

  • Capitol Watch: Nov. 29

    · By Chad Blair

    Abercrombie makes his first Cabinet picks, selects a communications team and gives hints into his decision-making process.

  • Capitol Watch: Nov. 23

    · By Chad Blair

    Several legislators may be looking for work in the Abercrombie administration. And possible candidates to fill a vacant state Senate seat.

  • Another Road Block at Aiona’s Office

    · By Sara Lin

    Lieutenant governor’s office says it needs time to see if its expense records are exempted from the open records law — seven weeks after initial request.

  • Week 27: Observations About Governor’s Race and Civil Beat Polls

    · By John Temple

    Let’s take a moment this weekend and look back, essentially six months after Civil Beat opened its doors.

    This was my first election season in Hawaii and I have a few observations about how things played out from my seat at Civil Beat. On the night of the election, the middle of the night more like it, we shared a number of other observations that you might find interesting.

    But for now, I’d like to focus on the governor’s race and the role Civil Beat played in it.

    The conventional wisdom might have been correct — that the Democratic primary between Neil Abercrombie and Mufi Hannemann was the heavyweight fight, and the general election was a foregone conclusion. But our polling indicated otherwise.

    There are no polite words to describe the drubbing Abercrombie gave Hannemann, or perhaps more accurately, what Abercrombie allowed Hannemann to do to himself in the primary.

    But after he crushed Hannemann, it seemed like Abercrombie’s team felt it had the governor’s office sewn up. The candidate disappeared. His website didn’t change for days….maybe a week. It was dead. Maybe they just needed to regroup or maybe his polls showed what the Honolulu Star-Advertiser had found when it commissioned polls on the possible post-primary matchup between Abercrombie and Aiona. What the newspaper polls showed was a 12 or 14 percent lead for Abercrombie.

    Aiona took advantage of the lull. He went on the offensive right after the primary. Challenging his opponent to debates. Holding what seemed like a press conference a day.

  • Tight Races Attract $21.8M to Hawaii Campaigns

    · By Nanea Kalani

    Hawaii candidates for governor and Congress attracted at least $21.8 million in support this election year.

  • What Recession? Candidates Spend Big for General Election

    · By Nanea Kalani

    Candidates in Hawaii’s governor and congressional races spent a combined $17 million to buy votes.