Welcome to Election Night Live

11:25 PM

I received a big glossy mailer from Kirk Caldwell the day before the election that had an annotated copy of the Star-Advertiser editorial endorsing him on one side, which was fine.

But the other side was all Donna Tanoue, Caldwell’s wife, and U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye, on whose staff Caldwell served 30 years ago.

Tanoue, a banker and former chair of the FDIC in the Clinton administration after serving as Inouye’s campaign chairman, assured us that she knows Caldwell “really well” because she’s been married to him for 29 years.

Inouye’s letter to Caldwell talked more about Tanoue than Caldwell and seemed to suggest that Caldwell’s greatest achievement on Inouye’s staff was meeting Tanoue.

Caldwell isn’t the first haole politician to put his local wife on prominent display — Jeremy Harris and Ed Case come to mind — but this is the first time I’ve seen the wife displayed almost as prominently as the candidate. Caldwell mentioned her often in the televised debates, while I wasn’t sure if Peter Carlisle or Panos Prevedouros were even married.

I never understood the strategy of making himself look like a weak candidate who needed to be propped up by others.

I thought Caldwell did a good job during his term as House majority leader, and tonight I heard House Finance Chairman Marcus Oshiro and Rep. Marilyn Lee speak eloquently about Caldwell’s leadership and passion for public service when they worked with him.

You have to wonder why people like them and the examples they offered weren’t at the at the center of his campaign instead of leaning so heavily on his wife and Inouye, neither of whom had much useful to say on his behalf.

With that, over and out for the night. Thanks for visiting.

10:35 PM

Former Gov. Ben Cayetano said earlier this evening that how Democrats come together together after the primary will depend on what Neil Abercrombie and Mufi Hannemann say tonight.

Hannemann did his part with a gracious concession speech in which he congratulated Abercrombie and offered support, thanked his supporters and promised to live to fight another day.

He said plainly, “The people of Hawai‘i have spoken and said, ‘Mufi, this is not your time,’ and I accept that decision.”

Abercrombie couldn’t have asked for more and responded by promising to earn the trust and respect of Hannemann voters with his “wave of change and hope.”

The conventional wisdom before the election was that Republican James “Duke” Aiona would match up better against Abercrombie than Hannemann.

The main reason is the hope that many of Hannemann’s voters who share Aiona’s more moderate and socially conservative views might vote for him.

But the Republicans didn’t count on the strength of Abercrombie’s landslide victory, which greatly enhances his chances of uniting the party.

9:55 PM

The mayor’s race remains the most interesting with the gap continuing to close against Peter Carlisle, but we’ll see if there are enough votes still outstanding to erase the gap.

While Carlisle’s percentage from the first readout has dropped slightly, the numbers he’s losing seem to be going to Panos Prevedouros more than Kirk Caldwell, and Prevedouros is way too far behind to catch up.

Interesting that Robert Bunda has passed Norman Sakamoto for second place for lieutenant governor behind Brian Schatz, who seems to have an insurmountable lead. Looks like Bunda’s late advertising run had some effect.

9:30 PM

I may be missing something, but I’m not seeing much Tea Party sentiment in the Republican primary.

You have to assume that those who stayed home to vote in the GOP primary when most of the action was on the Democratic side were the most devoted members of the party.

Yet among this core group, there seemed to be little Tea Party uprising. John Carroll, who was endorsed by conservative state Sen. Sam Slom, is getting only 4 percent of the vote for governor against James “Duke” Aiona.

Others identified with the party’s conservative wing such as lieutenant governor candidate Adrienne King and state senate candidate Joe Pandolfe were also trailing substantially.

(I have no control over the Google ad on that sometimes flashes on my blog dissing the Tea Party and derive no revenue from it.)

8:40 PM

As this story develops, there will be a lot of talk about what Mufi Hannemann did wrong, but we should start by talking about what Neil Abercrombie did right.

A few things that stood out to me:

  • He committed from the start to the Barack Obama model of running a positive campaign of hope and never diverted from it. He claimed the high road early and held it. When Hannemann went negative, Abercrombie’s response that “it’s not what a governor does” cut off the former mayor at the knees.
  • He took the hit for resigning his U.S. House seat and got an early start on the campaign. Being here all year instead of having to commute from Washington on weekends made a critical difference in developing his message and building his organization, especially on the neighbor islands.
  • He took it in stride when some endorsements he thought he should get went the other way — especially the unions — and succeeded in winning over a good share of their constituencies despite the snub from leadership.
  • He took early to the increasingly important social media and used the platform effectively. If he holds onto a vote total in the high 50s it’ll be very impressive, but I saw one Twitter-based poll in which he had over 70 percent.
  • Abercrombie lowered his voice and stifled the excitable arm gestures without losing the energy he brings to a campaign. It was a tight, honest, no-drama campaign that got voters comfortable with the idea that he could wield a steady hand as governor.
  • He neatly trimmed his trademark hair and beard and was usually seen in a sharp blazer and tie with his congressional button prominently displayed. It showed respect for voters and the office and headed off any attempt to portray him as an aging hippie.

7:40 PM

Rep. Blake Oshiro has a strong early lead, 52 to 44 percent over Councilman Gary Okino in a race being closely watched by HB 444 advocates.

Between this and the Democratic governor’s race, the anti-civil unions vote isn’t showing legs, although it still could in the general election.

Other interesting legislative numbers:

DELA CRUZ, Donovan 626 39.1%
HAGINO, Gerald T. (Gerry) 383 23.9%
MAGAOAY, Michael Y. 383 23.9%

SAY, Calvin K.Y. 1,161 68.2%
SYNAN, Dwight D. 463 27.2%

CHOY, Isaac W. 1,161 57.2%
CASE, Kimberly S. 709 35.0%

SCHULTZ, Mike 349 45.6%

MORIKAWA, Daynette (Dee) 1,178 58.8%
SAGUM, Roland D. III 693 34.6%

HANOHANO, Faye P. 573 46.5%
MARZI, Anthony (Tony) 571 46.3%

It looks like Keith Kaneshiro might be poised for a comeback as Honolulu prosecutor with 41 percent against 32 percent for Don Pacarro and 15 percent for Darwin Ching.

7:20 PM

The lights went out for awhile at Mufi Hannemann’s campaign headquarters even before the first returns were released, and the big question now that he’s facing an 18-percent deficit after the first printout, is whether the lights are out on his chances.

Hannemann supporters are putting up a brave front, noting that Hannemann also trailed Duke Bainum in 2004 when the first absentee votes were counted.

But he was behind only a few points then, and there was a major attack on Bainum’s wife in the final days of that campaign. He exponentially further behind now and there were no potential late game-changers in this campaign.

Republican James “Duke” Aiona can rest very comfortably with an 89-point lead over John Carroll, as can GOP lieutenant governor candidate Lynn Finnegan, who leads attorney Adrienne King by 32 points.

Things are looking very good on the Democratic LG side for Brian Schatz, who gained ground over runner-up Norman Sakamoto from the polls to lead by 18 points.

Most competitive is the Honolulu mayor’s race, where Peter Carlisle leads Kirk Caldwell 42 percent to 36 percent. But Caldwell has closed the gap considerably from the early polls and we’ll see if he closed further between the absentee vote and the same-day vote.

6 PM

If there was any question about the intensity of the 2010 primary election, it was clear to see on a Kalihi street corner this morning.

I participate in a Saturday event several time a year at Kuhio Park Terrace that happened to fall on primary election day in 2008 and again today.

One of Mufi Hannemann’s traditional election morning sign-waving spots is the corner of School and Likelike in front of the Kam Shopping Center.

When he ran for re-election as Honolulu mayor in 2008 against Ann Kobayashi and Panos Prevedouros, there was some question about whether he would get 50 percent  to win it in the primary, but little doubt about who would end up mayor.

When I drove by, he was standing on the curb offering laid-back waves to motorists as he chatted with campaign workers.

It was an entirely different picture when I passed the intersection today. Hannemann and his wife Gail were out on the median strip where they could be seen by traffic in all four directions, standing back to back as they circled like a couple of outnumbered gunfighters.

Hannemann was really working it, his arms circling in a windmill motion as he alternated shakas with finger points and bent down to make eye contact with every car he could in a determined performance that was rewarded with quite a few honks.

Hannemann repeated the scene at several other spots around the island during the day, while his Democratic opponent Neil Abercrombie toured the island in a trolley before setting up for an election night bash at the former CompUSA building on Ala Moana.

They battled to the end, and now have no moves left but to join the rest of us in awaiting the verdict.

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17 Comments on “Welcome to Election Night Live”

  1. lavasusan Says:

    Just got back from a pau hana. I thought the first results (absentee) would be available at 6, and it’s after 7 now. I also see no comments. Am I on the right blog?

  2. hipoli Says:

    When is the next report anticipated to be coming out, please?

  3. David Shapiro Says:

    The next return is supposed to be 9:30, but I’m not holding my breath.

  4. WooWoo Says:

    I agree that Neil ran an excellent campaign.

    Mufi is losing on Oahu big time. That’s got to be a telling statistic.

  5. WooWoo Says:

    Keoki Kerr is pulling no punches in his interviews. Wish more were like him.

  6. David Shapiro Says:

    WooWoo, yeah, that’s really an overwhelming repudiation on O‘ahu. After his comfortable re-election two years ago, it raises an interesting question: Has he done something that has majorly ticked off his Honolulu constituents in the last two years, or could he have been had in 2008 by an opponent with more stature and funding?

    I agree with you on Keoki.

  7. WooWoo Says:

    I think that the union leadership needs to ask themselves if they are out of touch with their members. Almost all the unions lined up with Mufi, but it doesn’t look like the rank and file listened.

  8. lavasusan Says:

    Agree with WooWoo about unions. Are the union leaders supposed to take a vote of their members, or at least get the sentiment, or is it more a top-down “we will tell you who’s best for you” process?

  9. lavasusan Says:

    All right, Dave, packing it in. Thanks for your thoughts throughout the night.

  10. townieone Says:

    BTW I totally agree with Woowoo. I can’t figure out how someone with so much education was so blind to the obvious.

    Or, was he just blinded by ambition?

  11. Capitol -ist/WassupDoc Says:

    Spent the night at two campaign parties – one for a State Senate candidate whom we all thought would win and who came in a dismal third – no, not Michael Magaoay. The other was at a bigtime celebration on Ala Moana Blvd in the old CompUSA building for Neil.

    It was like going to a combination of a high school reunion, a Jewish wedding, and a Times Square New Year’s Eve Celebration.

    I was stunned at the blowout – I expected an Abercrombie win but something along the line of 54%-46%. This was huge and should have the Republicans – nationally & locally – retreating to their back offices to see what went wrong and if they can save Charles Djou from being Blowout Number 2.

    None of my BOE candidates survived nor did my Prosecuting Attorny’s choice. As for the Mayor’s race, I’m going to have a lot more friends on the City Council come January who’ll keep him Carlisle under control.

    Look forward to reading Kolea’s take on the election.

    One last thing, David – found out tonight that your blog and your regulars are tracked by a lot of politcal junkies. Good for you.

  12. Michael Says:

    Many commented that had if hanneman had a different attitude and ran the race being more in the”League of Extra Ordinary Gentlemen”, he would have won. His “poi” pounding days are over. His days of using his height and not his brains are over. At the end Neil seemed taller than Mufi. Mufis head will hurt for awhile, getting hit with a sling shot.

    I felt that Mufi making fun of UH of Hawaii, had many UH Alumnis voting for Abercrombie than an Ivy leaguer like Hanneman. “I went to Harvard”, you went to UH of Manoa”. That would rile any UH of Hawaii Graduates.

    I am sure Abercrombie can do alot more now for UH. With Brian Shatz as LT. Governor, it will a race for the Republicans to see. The Democrats will win. Schatz with his ties to President Obama and Abercrombie has other Senators, Congressperson, House of Reps, etc. With a solid friedship but now with
    the Support Of Washington.

    Aiona and Finnegan will have to pull a mouse out the hat or Haul Donkey and get a new strategy going. Aiona and Finnegan still remind me of lingle, since both worked with her. No thinking of their own. Based on how Aiona handled the response to lingle Vetoing HB444. He cannot make the decision alone. Not something I would want my leader to say. “I don’t know what to do”. Republicans are in a split party too. Called the T-Party miss led by palin.
    Democrat party with Brian and Neil now seems more solid. If palin comes to Hawaii to help Aiona, I would refudiate it. “You got to celebrate it”. I think if she did come to Hawaii she would melt.

    I found it funny to see Caldwell dressed in T-shirt and short pants when he went to his Campaign center.
    Seems he wanted to Dress Local and I look like you, you look like me, with Hanneman. Did not match. At least Schatz dressed in Aloha Shirt and long pants.

    What is going to be tough is Senator Gabbard was re-elected and Senator Rep. Oshiro won. The next governor will have an issue brought back. The Phoenix Bill. The Next campaign, I wonder who Shopo and the other unions will back up? As if it mattered in this election. It showed a change when HGEA MEMBERs questioned the right to vote and not follow the union reps telling them who to vote for.

    It was an interesting election and it seems that many did not vote or voted wrong or in the wrong locations and their votes did not count. The Final Election will be decided on who crosses over. Since it seems now Democrats are now united but the Republicans are split between T-Party and true Republicans.

    I am sure that who ever is running will be more Gentlemen and Lady like when they campaign. Bullies don’t win. If I did not read any blogs or others comments, I probably would not have cared to vote. I did read and I did vote. I voted to make a difference.

    Thanks to all. Won some, lost some. I got to live with it and accept it.

  13. WooWoo Says:

    Happiest people last night:

    Neil Abercrombie
    Peter Carlisle
    Ed Case

  14. Michael Says:

    I stand corrected. In the final part of the Night, Caldwell did wear an Aloha Shirt with long pants. Covered with white leis.

  15. David Shapiro Says:

    WooWoo, I’d guess Linda Lingle would be high on the happy people list. Given the animosity between her and Hannemann, the last thing she needed was to have him trashing her for two years like he did with Harris after succeeding him. I doubt Abercrombie will be throwing a lot of flattery her way, but it won’t have the personal edge.

  16. WooWoo Says:


    Your comment about Mufi trashing Lingle for “two years” implies “between now and her Senate run.” From that standpoint, it might not have been a perfect night for Lingle. Had Mufi won last night (and then won again in the general), it would have made it very, very difficult for Mufi to run for a Senate seat. Even the relatively few people unaware of his blind ambition would have rejected him if he didn’t even complete one full term as Governor.

    Now, Mufi is floating out there as a rival in 2012. This makes for potential drama on the democratic side. If/when Lingle announces, somebody (from Mufi’s camp? with deniability? ) will run a poll that shows Mufi matching up better against her than Akaka.

  17. Uh, no Says:

    Nahh, not even Keith Rollman would be able to
    claim with a straight face that Mufi would poll
    better against Lingle than Akaka for the
    Senate seat.

    Mufi would have a hard time polling better
    than Case after this. Better than Hanabusa

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