Mayor’s race is on

Gordon Pang had an excellent story in the Advertiser about the battle for Honolulu Hale that’s shaping up in the wake of Mayor Mufi Hannemann’s announcement that he’ll resign midterm to run for governor.

New tenant sought

At least four credible candidates will face off in a winner-take-all special election in September for the right to finish the final two years of Hannemann’s term — city Managing Director Kirk Caldwell, city Prosecutor Peter Carlisle, Councilman Donovan dela Cruz and  anti-rail activist Panos Prevedouros.

(I know that Councilman Rod Tam is also running, but I’ll leave it to greater minds to take him seriously.)

The conventional wisdom is that Carlisle is the man to beat because of his name recognition, general popularity and experience in islandwide races, but I’m not sure that’s true unless invisibility on the campaign trail has suddenly become a political asset.

Caldwell, who has the backing of Team Hannemann, has been busy raising money and lining up institutional support. He’ll have a couple of months to make himself look good as acting mayor after Hannemann steps down.

Dela Cruz and Prevedouros have been traveling all over O’ahu meeting voters and outlining their positions on a wide range of issues.

By contrast, Carlisle has been relatively little seen or heard from and his stands on issues other than crime are vague. The best quote Pang could get out of him was, “The most pressing issue is getting the fiscal house of the city and county in order. We can no longer afford government that we cannot afford.”

If he wants to win, he’s going to have to get out and campaign.


I take a look at the biggest news out of the state Democratic convention, Ed Case’s withdrawal from the CD1 race, in my column in the Opinion section of today’s Advertiser, “Case ‘showed he was a Democrat.’ So what’s Inouye?”

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8 Comments on “Mayor’s race is on”

  1. WooWoo Says:

    Very good article in the HA, Dave.

    As far as Carlisle goes, I think he made a strategic error when he left the GOP. At the time, the brand was so damaged that he figured there was nothing to gain by staying. He also looked around for republican candidates and saw none, so he figured he could leave the party, keep the votes, and not have to worry about his right flank.

    What threw his plan for a loop was Panos officially joining the GOP. Carlisle moved too early in leaving the GOP. Now he has to figure out what the heck is going to do.

    While I agree that Carlisle has been invisible recently, I suspect that that is just waiting til Mufi made it official. He doesn’t have unlimited funds, and so he will save his gunpowder for when its needed.

    Of all of the major candidates, I believe that he is strongest overall on the stump. Caldwell must be considered the frontrunner because of institutional support, but Carlisle still has a lot of strengths. Running from the prosecutors office is a big advantage. “While Mufi and Kirk were busy raising your taxes, I was putting criminals in jail.”

    Early prediction: a Caldwell win because of surprisingly high support for Panos splitting the vote on the right.

  2. Seawalker Says:

    @WooWoo – Good observations, man. But I see it differently. As with the case of Djou, it is once again, the young and the restless. Djou is not the polished politician yet. So expect him to continue talking through his a$$–calling the election and freaking out over a little joke.

    I think it’s going to be a closer race than anyone would expect. Yes, Carlisle is coming from the Prosecutor’s office. But he took on high profile cases to boost his stock, which Prosecutors normally shy away from unless it’s a guaranteed win for the state. One-time heroics are well short of testicular fortitude needed in politics.

    Yes, Caldwell should be the front-runner because he is currently the M.D., second in command at City Hall. But remember, Jeremy Harris was also in this position, got elected as mayor, and is now in the Hall of Shame. Caldwell is nothing without Hannemann pulling the purse strings.

    Yes, Panos has some great ideas as an engineering professor for the rail line. Some things are done better left to the pros in a given profession. Politics is a different animal, and I think he’ll be swallowed up alive. Look at the current oil spill fiasco, the Feds have no idea on what to do and, yet, putting on an act for the public. Plugging the oil leak should be left up to the engineers, according to Michael W. Perry.

    No, Tam is a moron and I’ll leave it at that.

    Which leaves us with Donovan Dela Cruz. Nice guy. And young and restless, just like Djou. Four years as council chairman and eight years in the City Council appeals to a lot of voters in terms of qualification. I, wholeheartedly, believe he will come out on top, as with the case of Djou. When you’re young and hungry, you don’t mind reaching deeper into your bag of tricks when it is time to show your cards.

    Anyway, work is a young man’s sport!

  3. haole Says:

    seawalker! again great insight!are you a political consultant? you have good analysis in election politics.if your not being compensated for your outlook,you should at least be recognized by political operative’s for your picking apart a strength of campaign.

  4. shaftalley Says:

    why do i get the feeling that having any of those people mentioned above getting elected as mayor only will mean business as usual? what is missing from them?core principles?is it possible to be a politician and still have core principles?maybe so.

  5. Capitol -ist/WassupDoc Says:

    Alas alackaday – another political race in which I get to vote None Of The Above since I refuse to vote for The Least Worst.

    The person I’d like to see run for mayor is a first-term legislator – Jessica Wooley – bright, hard-working, ethical, and an incredibly knowledgeable environmental attorney. Unfortunately, she doesn’t have the $$$$$ to run a credible campaign.

  6. charles Says:

    Carlisle challenge is the same as Wesley Clark’s was when Clark ran for president. In Carlisle’s case, once you get past law and order, it remains to be seen if people believe he has solutions.

    Sewers, property taxes, rail, roads, development issues, etc. He is a blank slate.

  7. zzzzzz Says:

    Anyone else think Caldwell will be targeted by rail opponents?

    @Capitol- ist: I agree on the dearth of candidates that generate excitement. None of the candidates so far for mayor, governor, or US Congress fit that description for me.

  8. BTSPR Says:

    when it comes down to it.. who will have raised the most money.
    we will see who has when the finance report comes out end of june.
    i hear caldwell have the most?

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