HNN: Lt. Gov. Duke Aiona talks election night, future plans
He first spoke about the election night results.
"The fact that it ended up being what it was, 17 percent, was a shock to me and like I said disappointed. I have some things right now, what you would call real conceptual ideas of how I want to work with families and youth. Maybe run again in 2014 and it will be for the governors office," Aiona said.
Aiona said his decision to run for governor again will be based on the 2012 elections. He said he'll be looking at his party support, the presidential elections and the success or failure of governor Abercrombie's administration.
KITV: Aiona Considers 2014 Bid For Gov.
Aiona attributed his defeat to Abercrombie to many different things, including the public's dismay with furloughs and voter discomfort with his strong religious beliefs.
"Some people would say they didn't vote for Aiona because of the religious stuff. I would say what do you mean about the 'religious stuff?' They really couldn't explain," said Aiona.
Aiona said he also thought Mainland-stye negative campaigning in the congressional race between Republican Charles Djou and Democrat Colleen Hanabusa turned Hawaii voters against Republicans.
SA: Aiona keeps sights on governor's office
Aiona acknowledged that he spent too much of his campaign money early, may have waited too long to release critical advertising against Abercrombie and may have miscalculated by holding a news conference to discuss his ties to a Christian conservative group with controversial views on homosexuality.
The lieutenant governor also said Democrats successfully linked him to Gov. Linda Lingle, whose popularity declined after teacher furloughs and state spending cuts were used to help with the state's budget deficit.
"There were some people that didn't vote (for me) because they felt that I was too religious. Some people felt that I was hooked to Lingle and the furloughs and stuff like that," Aiona said. "The reasons varied out there."
…Neal Milner, a political science professor at the University of Hawaii-Manoa, said that while governor's campaigns are candidate-driven, a strong political party provides essential structure.
"I think his viability is as good as any other Republican candidate," he said. "I think the issue is more the strength of the Republican Party than Aiona."
State GOP leaders have re-evaluated the past formula for Republican campaigns -- rally the Republican base, capture most independents and convert moderate Democrats -- and many now believe they have to expand the electorate in order to be successful. This year the target was faith-based voters, which did not produce immediate results.
"We're trying to grow the base," Aiona said. "Whether that includes the faith-based (voters), it doesn't matter -- you're growing the base. That's what you have to do as a political party."
AP: Aiona ponders political future
His campaign made no strategic mistakes, Aiona said.
But the current tenuous state of Hawaii's economy may have played a major role, he said, noting how a vibrant economy was a big selling point for him and Gov. Linda Lingle when they won a convincing re-election victory in 2006.
He also said the state GOP should undergo no major changes despite internal criticism about tactics and direction since the election.
"The party did as best as it could this year, and they showed a lot of improvement," Aiona said. "I think we just have to continue doing what we're doing, keep the recruitment up, make sure that we cover every race."
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