The campaign for the District 2 congressional seat, covering rural Oahu and the Neighbor Islands, is once again a wide-open race following three-term U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono's resignation to seek the U.S. Senate (more about that race here).
Oahu residents make up fewer than 40 percent of the voters in the district, but no one living on the Neighbor Islands has ever won the seat. That's because candidates from all the Hawaiian Islands tend to gravitate to state elected or appointed positions in Honolulu, the seat of power, before seeking federal office.
Both of Hawaii's 2012 House seats are considered "safe Democrat" by political prognosticator Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball. District 2 is certainly holding true to that form, with the odds-on favorites coming from the Democratic Party.
Former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann held a substantial lead in polling in a Feb. 14 Honolulu Star-Advertiser report. The newspaper reported Hannemann had 65 percent of the vote, compared with just 20 percent for his best-known challenger, City Councilwoman Tulsi Gabbard. A June 18 Civil Beat poll found Gabbard overcoming that early lead to make it a neck-and-neck race.
Hannemann gave up the Honolulu mayorship in 2010 in an unsuccessful bid for governor. He lost that race to Gov. Neil Abercrombie in a rout, leaving prognosticators predicting the congressional seat will be Hannemann's consolation prize in the small, close-knit state. But with two months still to go before the Aug. 11 primary, no one's taking anything for granted.
About the candidates:
|Tulsi Gabbard (c) 2012 All Hawaii News|
Campaign phone: 808. 861.0793
Political Experience: Honolulu City Council, 2010-2012; Legislative aide to U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka, 2006; Hawaii state House, the youngest legislator elected in the history of Hawaii and the youngest woman elected in the nation 2002-2004;
Other experience: Hawaii Army National Guard, field medical unit, 2004-2006, promoted to captain, serves as company commander, 2011; co-founder of Health Hawaii Coalition, 2002
Education: Hawaii Pacific University, international business degree, 2010.
Personal: Born April 12, 1981, Leloaloa, American Samoa, moved to Hawaii in 1983. Single.
|Mufi hannemann (c) 2012 All Hawaii News|
Campaign phone: 808. 521-6834
Political Experience: Honolulu mayor, 2005-2010, Director, Hawaii Office of International Relations (Waihe‘e administration), Staff Assistant to Vice President George H.W. Bush, Special Assistant to Governor George R. Ariyoshi
Other experience: President and CEO of the Hawai‘i Lodging & Tourism Association, Vice President for Corporate Marketing and Public Affairs and President and General Manager of Punalu‘u Sweetbread, 1984; Shop/Visitor Center and C. Brewer Hawaiian Juices for C. Brewer and Company, Special Assistant in the U.S. Department of the Interior (Carter administration), History teacher and varsity basketball coach, ‘Iolani School
Education: Harvard University, 1976;
Personal: Born July 16, 1954, Honolulu, married to Gail Mukaihata
Campaign phone: 808.591.2012
Political Experience: Chief of Staff to Hawaii Congressman Ed Case, 2003-2007, Chief of Staff/Legislative Director to Guam Congressman Robert Underwood, 1999-2003, Legislative Assistant to Hawaii Sen. Daniel Akaka, 1990-1999, Counselor in the U.S. Senate Placement Office, 1989-1990, Intern to Hawaii Sen. Daniel Inouye, Spring 1986
Other experience: Chief Advocate for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, 2009-present, Land Asset Manager for the Kamehameha Schoolsʻ Land Assets Division, 2007-2009
Education: George Washington University Law School, J.D., 1998, The John Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, graduate studies, 1986-1988, University of Southern California, B.A., 1985
Personal: Daughter of Lorelei Haunani Kiaaina (formerly Anahu), Molokai High School ʻ48, and the late Melvin Leialoha Kiaaina, Farrington High School ʻ48.Youngest of Seven Siblings: Keaolamauloa “Duke” Kiaaina, Michelle Mamo Kiaaina (deceased), Melvin “Kimo” Kiaaina, Jr.; Nadine Nomura; Nola Mento; and Ricky Pa.
Island: Hawaii Island
Campaign phone: 808. 938-2202
Political Experience: Three terms in the Oregon House of Representatives, Named "Senior Advocate of the Year" by the National Retired Teachers Association and the American Association of Retired People
Other experience: Personal injury attorney. Began practicing law in Hilo in 1980 and now has offices in Hilo and Kailua-Kona.
Education: Doctor of Jurisprudence at Lewis and Clark College 1979, Oregon State University bachelor's degree in political science, 1971.
Personal: Maternal grandparents, Basilo and Maximina Belin, immigrated from Ponce, Puerto Rico in 1921 to work on the Pu`unene Plantation in Maui. Son of a daughter of a plantation worker and U.S. Naval Aviator who met in Honolulu and subsequently moved to Oregon, where he was born.Father of four grown children, and has three young grandchildren. aised his youngest son Kai as a single parent after the death of his wife, Hiromi Tsuchida-Marx in 1998.
- Kawika Crowley, Republican, Hawaii Island, 808.381.9031
- Rafael Del Castillo, Democrat, Oahu, http://rafaeldelcastillo.org/about-del/
- Matthew, Digeronimo, Republican, Oahu, http://matthewdigeronimo.com/