HR: Romney Wins Hawaii's GOP Caucus with High Turnout That Overwhelmed Organizers
At Jefferson School on Kapahulu Avenue, Dale Evans spent one hour and 15 minutes in line with a couple of hundred people in front of her. She was finally allowed to vote 45 minutes after the polls were supposed to close at 8:45 p.m. She said that polling place finally closed around 9:15 p.m….
Congresswoman Pat Saiki, who earlier endorsed former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, said it was “wonderful” to see so many Republicans together in one place. At first she was not supportive of a caucus idea, she said, but participating in the event changed her mind.
Sen. Sam Slom, a Rick Santorum supporter, said he has “never seen so many Hawaii Republicans in his life, not even at the annual state conventions.”
“God bless competition and God bless all the candidates,” Slom said.
Chris Baron, a Kuliouou Neighborhood Board member and one time House candidate, said this was a great opportunity to give input into who should be the next presidential candidate.
The caucus attracted many young people who support Congressman Ron Paul including Nicolas Gregory, President of the Youth for Ron Paul at the University of Hawaii, a group with around 160 members.
SA: Hawaii Republicans side with Romney -- Santorum comes in second as state GOP members get their first opportunity to help pick a presidential candidate
“I think it’s a wonderful way to spread the Republican message of smaller government and responsible government,” said Frederick “Fritz” Rohlfing, chairman of the Romney campaign in Hawaii. “So, as far as I’m concerned, it’s a success no matter what the outcome is.” ….
the caucuses gave island Republicans an opportunity to have a direct say in selecting the GOP nominee for the first time, so many saw value in participating.
“It’s always good for everyone to be able to have their voice, do what they think is right,” said David Parker, a carpenter who lives in Enchanted Lake.
Ivy McIntosh, a homemaker from Kahala, said she switched her party affiliation to Republican despite being a liberal for most of her life. She persuaded her husband to vote for Obama four years ago, but she is disappointed and thinks he has not fulfilled his promises, such as reducing the influence of lobbyists in Washington, D.C.
“I’m surprised that I’m here,” she said while waiting to vote at Kalani High School with her three children, Kaila, 11; Nai‘a, 6; and Kea, 3. “It’s a big change for me. This is a very surreal experience. I want my voice to count. In order to live with myself and not complain, I need to take action. My children need to see me take action."
Lines formed outside many of the caucus locations across the state — several ran out of ballots and party registration cards — a pleasant surprise for party leaders who did not know quite what to expect….
The Republican candidates did not appear personally in Hawaii, but the caucuses were on their radars. Romney held a telephone conference call with Republicans. Paul bought local television advertising time. Santorum issued an automated telephone call to encourage turnout.
The candidates also sent family members to the islands as surrogates. Matt Romney, Romney’s son; Elizabeth Santorum, Santorum’s daughter; and Ronnie Paul, Paul’s son, made campaign swings in the past several days.
Miriam Hellreich, the state GOP’s national committeewoman and a Republican fundraiser, was skeptical about the caucuses at first.
“I have to tell you, initially, I was very skeptical about changing from the convention system, because I was thinking the learning curve would be so hard to get the word out and to be able to educate the public about the fact that they could come and vote.
“I was skeptical, but I really am not any longer. I think it’s really positive thing.”
Political Radar: ‘Game changer’
“It shows that the Republican Party is alive and well. And this is a game changer,” Chang said. “We’re going to take this momentum into the general election.”
Political Radar: North star—Laie Votes for Romney
SA: Results released in Hawaii Republican caucus
HNN: Romney wins Hawaii GOP caucus
KHON: Hawaii Republican caucus voters back presidential picks
KITV: Romney Wins Hawaii, American Samoa Delegates
WHT: Big Islanders turn out for caucus
MN: Maui County Republicans back Romney
KOS: LiveBlog Thread on March 13 GOP Primaries, Caucuses
CB: Hawaii Republican Caucuses: Hawaii Kai
It's not surprising that Hawaii Kai was one of several neighborhoods that ran out of ballots early on caucus night.
It is the only district that has a both Republican state senator, Sam Slom, and a Republican representative, Gene Ward.
It's also home to Charles Djou. And it's where Linda Lingle, who hopes to be elected Hawaii's first female U.S. senator, cast her secret vote.
CB: Hawaii Republican Caucuses: Laie
Laie voters turned out in full force Tuesday night to make their choices for a Republican presidential nominee.
More than 1,000 residents cast their votes at Laie Elementary School on Oahu's rural northeast shore. The predominantly Mormon community's pick was obvious — Mitt Romney — for long-time GOP backers and newcomers to the party alike.
Laie's Mormon roots are obvious. The community is home to the church's first temple built in Polynesia and a Brigham Young University campus. There are no Starbucks coffee shops in sight, and the local Foodland grocery store doesn't carry alcohol. Most businesses are closed on Sundays.
CB: Hawaii Republican Caucuses: GOP Headquarters
CB: Hawaii Republican Caucuses: Ewa Beach
CB: Hawaii Republican Caucuses: Kahala
CB: Hawaii Republican Caucuses: Kahului, Maui
It was a crisp, starry evening in Kahului for the state’s first-of-its-kind GOP caucus.
A dozen Maui residents arrived at Grace Bible Church in Kahului prior to the start of voting, several engaging in civilized, if passionate, debates on the merits of party nominees.
CB: Hawaii Republican Caucuses: Lihue, Kauai
LIHUE, KAUAI — On a night when presidential hopeful Rick Santorum basked in the glow of a double ‘Southern Fried’ win in Mississippi and Alabama, voters in the country’s geographically southernmost state went to vote in the state’s first-ever binding GOP presidential caucus.
Barely an hour after Rick Santorum was named the winner of the two southern primaries, voters on Kauai began arriving at The Aloha Church just mauka of the Kaumualii highway in central Lihue where voting began at 6 p.m.
CB: Hawaii Republican Caucuses: Waimea, Hawaii
WAIMEA, HAWAII ISLAND — Judging by the energy and attitudes of the 137 people who turned out to vote at the Thelma Parker Memorial Community Library in Waimea Tuesday evening for the Republican Caucus — the GOP has found new life.
“I think it is re-energized,” said 69-year-old Ron Scelza, of Waimea, noting how “a lot more people have focused their energies on not wanting President Obama re-elected.” He said he was especially excited by the opportunity for former Gov. Linda Lingle or Charles Djou to be elected to Congress.