by Andrew Walden 9-19-11
An email message calling for the removal of Hawaii Republican Party Chair Jonah Kaauwai was sent out to Hawaii Republican Party State Committee members yesterday. (Update Sept. 20, Kaauwai has issued a response, posted below.) The call for Kaauwai's ouster is signed by eight members of the Hawaii GOP State Executive Committee who refer to “our unanimously passed motion to remove Jonah Kaauwai as chair.” The message does not make clear whether this refers to a unanimous vote of the State Executive Committee or a unanimous opinion of the eight undersigned SEC members.
The Members of the SEC missing from this letter are: Jonah Kaauwai, Laakea Makanani, and all four County Chairs.
Within the last few days, Maui County Republican Party Chair Stuart Wilson, a supporter of Kaauwai, has resigned and been replaced by Cindy Sue Clark, an opponent of Kaauwai.
The procedure for removing a Party Chair is outlined in the Hawaii GOP Rules, Section 404-F.
Section 405 states that the State Committee will elect a replacement if Kaauwai is ousted as Party Chair.
This is the full text of the email message:
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September 18, 2011
Aloha Fellow Republican Party State Committee Members,
As members of the executive committee of the Hawai'i Republican Party (HRP), we the undersigned are writing to share the reasons underlying our unanimously passed motion to remove Jonah Kaauwai as chair of the Hawai'i Republican Party at the upcoming State Committee meeting confirmed for October 15, 2011.
The job of the HRP chair is to elect Republicans. The Chairman of the Party, with the advice and consent of the executive committee has general supervision of the affairs of the Party.
Unfortunately, a majority of members of the Party have lost confidence in the leadership of the current chair and his ability to guide the Party to success in the upcoming election year. Governor Linda Lingle, a potential candidate for US Senate; Congressman Charles Djou and candidate for CD1; Congresswoman Pat Saiki; the entire House Caucus including House Minority Leader Gene Ward, Representatives Corinne Ching, George Fontaine, Aaron Johanson, Barbara Marumoto, Kimberly Pine, Gil Riviere, Cynthia Thielen; and many other potential candidates and members of the HRP have stated their loss of confidence in the chair and have openly asked Jonah to step down. In private, many have tried to speak with Jonah about mutually beneficial action steps that would not adversely affect the Party or Jonah and his family.
This is neither a personal attack against the chair or the "establishment" moving to take over the Party. Those asking for the chair to step down are inter-generational, inter-cultural, and come from a myriad of experiences and differing viewpoints. This is not an ideological battle. Elected Representatives, pastors, religious leaders, businessmen, combat veterans, long-time and short-time volunteers, current and past candidates, students, and many others are part of the group concerned with the future of the Party and believe a change in leadership is required today before the Party's financial situation as well as federal guideline violations are exacerbated to the ruination of all that has been built.
We should also point out, that this situation has gone beyond our shores. It is the subject of numerous conversations in Washington. Simply stated, we cannot expect support from national leaders and their organizations with the current leadership. Also, national coverage of other state Party problems has done nothing but hurt the Party in those states. In all cases, the chair ultimately stepped down but only after public airing of "internal" issues. Hawai'i Republicans are already in the minority, why give the other side more fodder?
While the executive committee recognizes and appreciates the chair’s desire and efforts to build a meaningful grassroots organization along with candidate recruitment, his actions are not sufficient to win elections. Again, others who want to support our candidates are suspect of the lack of a detailed, well-thought out strategic plan with a myriad of multi-faceted tactics that would be implemented today. They hear words, but don't see actions.
Significant amounts of money must be raised and volunteers mobilized in the coming months to deliver the Party’s message, inform the Hawai'i public about our 2012 candidates, and assist those candidates in successful campaigns. Fundraising and generating large and small donor contributions are a key responsibility of the Chair of the Party, who publicly admits that he is not able to fulfill this responsibility. With debt of close to $100,000, no current staff nor the resources to hire for the foreseeable future, and little to no fundraising capability, the executive committee hopes the chair will step down rather than risk the Party’s finances becoming public knowledge. The consequences would be devastating.
We believe that with key upcoming elections, the future of our party will rest on this decision. Candidates and party members deserve the best leadership for their victory and unless this change is made, the Party will be put in dire straits. The bottom line is that we all love Hawai'i and want to win elections, but the reality is given the present state of affairs, we are simply not prepared to win or even compete.
Mahalo, for your support and we look to continue working for the betterment of Hawai'i and our L.L.I.F.E values. We can win back our state, and with your kokua, we will.
HRP Executive Committee:
- Brennon Morioka
- Miriam Hellreich
- Beth Fukumoto
- Gene Ward
- Liz A. Dorn
- David Chang
- Lisa Coluccio
- Marcia Klompus
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In a response, posted on Political Radar 9-20-11, Kaauwai implies that the demand for his removal is "anti-Christian or even anti-Hawaiian." This is not a sign that Kaauwai has a winning response.
(Hawai`i Free Press has not seen an original of Kaauwai's response, so it is not known whether Political Radar has the entire text or not.)
Statement from Jonah Kaauwai as posted on Political Radar:
The focus of my Chairmanship has from day one been to create a long lasting Republican Party built and unified upon unwavering principles. During past leaderships, our focus had been on a few elite candidates, thereby sacrificing our principles, sacrificing legislative candidates and the grassroots base of our party. The result has been that although we had a Republican Governor in office, during elections/races, Democrats ran for dozens of state offices unopposed. In order to change this outcome, we must become a populist principled party that is focused on the only mission that matters: electing Republicans into all offices.
The question is then, how do you build the Hawaiian Republican Party? Under my guidance, The Hawaii Republican party has had qualified candidates running in almost every elected office in the state. There is no doubt in my mind that is how you build a party. Building a large and strong party that truly brings a two-party system to the state and gives the people of Hawaii the opportunity to vote for Republican ideas at every level is where the future of Hawaii lies. By growing party organization from the ground up, by building up and supporting candidates at every level, we will build a long term, vibrant Republican presence in Hawaii. It is not however, in centering on one or two candidates alone as has been the norm.
Some people think attacks on me are anti-Christian or even anti-Hawaiian. I will not accept or allow anti-religious or anti-ethnic bias of any kind in the Hawaii Republican Party. We are building an open, transparent Hawaii Republican Party that brings true choices and true Republican values to the people of our Islands.
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CB: GOP Hierarchy Demands Kaauwai's Resignation
KITV: Opponents Trying to Starve Jonah Out, Have no Replacement
A Republican source said Lingle supporters stopped contributing to the Hawaii GOP earlier this year, trying to “starve Jonah out.” But at the time, a source said, Kaauwai’s detractors did not have a candidate standing by to replace him as chair.
It’s unclear if there is anyone eager to replace him. The Republican state committee, made up of about 70 members, is scheduled to meeting Oct. 15 to discuss whether to replace Kaauwai.
Read … Jonah Kaauwai Is Being Targeted For Replacement
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SA: Who is behind effort to Oust Kaauwai?
Kaauwai said Lingle wanted him to step down before the party's state convention in May. He believes the former governor, who is considering a Republican campaign for U.S. Senate next year, is behind the effort to remove him.
"From conversations with the eight on the list, she is encouraging them to ask me to step down," he said of the committee members behind the email. "No doubt."
Lenny Klompus, a former spokesman for Lingle, said Lingle did discuss the party's future with Kaauwai before the party's state convention, but he said Lingle did not initiate the executive committee's actions.
"She is not behind it," Klompus said.
read … They all are responsible
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Borreca: Hawaii GOP merely devours its young (9-25-11)
One of the reasons for the Hawaii Democratic Party's continued success is its ability to vigorously debate, scheme and fight amongst its own members.
This differs from the local Republican Party, which merely devours its young.
Democrats possess the ability to wade into a primary battle, gouge and eyeball their fellow Democrats and then launch into a serious talk about party unity for the general election. This is an ability that must be taught at a young age….
In contrast, the GOP appears perilously close to an internal collapse as the battle over leadership has intensified into a demand that the party chairman step down. Late reports on Friday indicated that Jonah Kaauwai might give in….
For Lingle and Djou…. If they can't nail down the trouble within the party without more bloodshed, both their candidacies are in peril. Interestingly, one of the ways to do that would be to mend fences and endorse Kaauwai as the GOP candidate for the 2nd Congressional District. That would bring new meaning to the phrase "party unity."
read … Dissension in local GOP testing unity and strength