Who Will Emerge as the Democrats’ Candidate for Governor in 2018?
Special to The Hawai‘i Herald
Almost four years ago, former Hawai‘i Govs. Ben Cayetano and George Ari-
yoshi had agreed to endorse and support the elections of both Colleen Hanabusa and David Ige.
Of course, in 2014, Hanabusa was running against Sen. Brian Schatz for a seat in the U.S. Senate, and Ige was running for governor against Neil Abercrombie, Hawai‘i’s Democratic incumbent.
Hanabusa, now back in Congress, is in another hotly contested Democratic primary — this time gunning for the governorship against the incumbent Ige.
The two senior political leaders, Cayetano and Ariyoshi, are both withholding announcing whom they will endorse in next year’s contest, although Cayetano does not hide his concerns about the Ige administration.
In a detailed interview, Cayetano said he is troubled by Ige’s leadership style to the extent that it is jeopardizing the 60-year-old Pearl City Democrat’s chances of re-election.
“The two have different leadership styles,” Cayetano said.
“David is very vulnerable. The people I talk to say he is not decisive enough.
“His actions on TMT (Mauna Kea’s 30-meter telescope project) and other big projects like rail have not been decisive. That is his problem.”
In contrast, Ariyoshi, who served as Hawai‘i’s third governor, from 1974 to 1986, simply refused to discuss either of the two, although he had endorsed both in the past.
“I have supported both in the past and I’m going to make my decision about who I’m going to support. I have not yet made a decision,” Ariyoshi said in an interview.
Hanabusa, a 66-year-old Waianae Democrat, draws quick praise from Cayetano, even if he says he is not yet ready to endorse.
Richard Borreca is a Honolulu journalist. He has worked for the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, KHVH News Radio, KHON-TV, Honolulu Magazine and The Honolulu Star-Advertiser, for whom he now writes a Sunday column.
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