by Andrew Walden (originally posted 10-28-10)
John Peschong describes a tight Governor’s race with the Aiona-Finnegan campaign's ongoing internal polling consistently running about 45%-44%, “just like 2002”—the year Linda Lingle swept into the Governor’s office.
A key consultant on Lingle’s 2002 and 2006 victories, Peschong is working for Aiona’s 2010 campaign. In a Tuesday night conference call to hundreds of GOP campaign workers in gubernatorial, congressional, and legislative races, plus what GOP Executive Director Dylan Nonaka described as “media and maybe a few Democrats”, Peschong emphasized get-out-the-vote efforts in the last week of the campaign as the key to an Aiona victory. This message was echoed by State GOP Chair Jonah Kaauwai who reported the Party has recruited poll workers for every precinct and is organizing an Election Day phone bank to coordinate with poll workers and round up any GOP voters who had not yet cast their ballots.
Djou campaign leader Kenny Amazaki echoed the optimistic assessment, pointing to a series of polls which show Rep Charles Djou leading Democrat Senator Colleen Hanabusa.
On Maui, GOP former Mayor Alan Arakawa seems poised for a comeback in a rematch against Democrat Mayor Charmaine Tavares.
Hawaii GOP Executive Director Dylan Nonaka indicated that Republican polling shows State Senator Sam Slom retaining his 8th District Senate seat and the GOP’s Virginia Enos winning the 25th District Senate Seat being vacated by Republican Senator Fred Hemmings. Nonaka also said two more Senate seats were “in play” but did not specify which.
In the House, Nonaka reported that all five returning Republican incumbent legislators—three unopposed—appear likely to be reelected. Aaron Johansen is positioned to hold a sixth Republican seat vacated by Lt Governor candidate Lynn Finnegan. Nonaka reported that an additional 15 House seats were “in play” with polling showing GOP challengers leading in seven races and a tie in eight others. Additionally Nonaka credited “five or six” GOP House candidates for running strong campaigns in unfavorable districts in spite of polling which shows them lagging. These totals indicate Republican legislative candidates making effective efforts in 37 of 51 districts. In contrast, Democrats failed to field any candidate against three of the GOP’s six House seats.
Kaauwai pointed to the positive “trickle-down” effect of having two strong “top-of-the-ticket” campaigns in Aiona-Finnegan and Djou. Nonaka said that spending in top-of-the-ticket races had sapped the resources of pro-Democrat interest groups and as a result Republican legislative candidates were finding fewer third party mailers deployed against them.
Kaauwai underlined Republicans’ strong candidate recruitment efforts which pulled in 97 Legislative and council candidates, 65 of whom are running in the general election.