314 Action Fund Reaffirms Support of Dr. Josh Green as Scandal-Plagued Challenger Steps In
In Recent Polling, Dr. Green Leads Rep. Kai Kahele by 32% in Hypothetical Four-Candidate Primary
News Release from 314 Action Fund, May 7, 2022
(PHILADELPHIA, PA) — Today, 314 Action Fund reaffirmed its support of Lieutenant Governor Dr. Josh Green in the race to become the next Governor of Hawaii. A physician and experienced lawmaker, Green has served both Hawaii families as a local doctor for decades and in both chambers of the Hawaii legislature. Green was elected lieutenant governor of Hawaii in 2018 and has continued to serve as an emergency room doctor throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as Hawaii’s designated COVID-19 Liaison.
“With the stakes higher than ever following the SCOTUS’s leaked decision on reproductive rights, Hawaii voters need a full-time leader as governor who they can trust will be there when the phone rings,” Josh Morrow, Executive Director of 314 Action, said. “Dr. Josh Green has already proven as Lieutenant Governor that he is uniquely qualified through his handling of the COVID pandemic, and he will devote the necessary time and energy to get the job done right.”
In February 2022 – even before news of Rep. Kai Kahele’s scandals broke – 314 Action Fund released the results of new polling that shows Lieutenant Governor Dr. Josh Green with a significant lead among the field of declared or potential Democratic candidates in Hawaii’s gubernatorial race. A physician and experienced policymaker, Dr. Green has fought for Hawaii families for decades and has continued to serve as an emergency room doctor throughout the pandemic.
The poll, which was conducted by Public Policy Polling on behalf of 314 Action Fund and polled Democratic primary election voters across Hawaii, shows Dr. Green as the primary election frontrunner with nearly half of voters (46%) saying they would vote for Dr. Green in a hypothetical four-candidate primary, in which he would lead his closest opponent, Rep. Kai Kahele, by 32%. 65% of poll respondents said they approved of Dr. Green’s overall job performance, with 70% approving of his performance specifically concerning the handling of the pandemic. Additionally, two of respondents’ top four campaign issues are science issues: COVID-19 and climate change.
The other declared or potential Democratic candidates in the HI-GOV primary all face uphill battles with name recognition and favorability. 36% to 46% of voters were unsure of how they would rate the favorability of the other candidates, and only one other candidate received a net positive favorability rating (+24%). The margin of error of this poll is +/- 3.9%, and the memo can be viewed here.
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From: Minami Yoshizawa, Public Policy Polling
To: Interested Parties
Subject: New Polling Shows Lt. Governor Green’s Strong Lead 6 Months Ahead of Democratic Primary for Hawaii Gubernatorial Race
Date: February 11, 2022
A new Public Policy Polling survey of likely Democratic primary voters in Hawaii finds Lieutenant Governor Josh Green leading his closest opponent by double digits in the primary race for Governor. When asked to choose between Green, former First Lady Vicky Cayetano, former Mayor Kirk Caldwell, and current U.S. Representative Kai Kahele, almost half (46%) of voters say they would vote for Green, with 25% unsure. He has a 32-point lead (46-14) over his closest opponent Kai Kahele, a 36-point lead (46-10) over Cayetano, and a 41-point lead (46-5) over Caldwell. When the race is narrowed to just Green, Cayetano, and Kahele, 48% of voters support Lt. Governor Green, and he leads Kahele by 31 points (48-17) and Cayetano by 38 points (48-10). The numbers are even more favorable for Green when the race is between just him, Cayetano, and Caldwell: he earns majority (52%) support and has a 40-point lead over closest opponent Cayetano.
Green’s lead may be attributed to a strong approval rating for his job performance as Lieutenant Governor, especially when it comes to handling the COVID-19 pandemic. 65% of voters approve of his overall job performance as Lieutenant Governor, while just 16% disapprove. When it comes to handling COVID-19, 70% of voters approve of the job Green has done, while just 17% disapprove.
The other candidates, by contrast, have low name recognition, low favorability ratings, or both. Caldwell has a net-negative favorability rating of 20 points (22-42) and Cayetano’s favorability is underwater by 9 points (22-31), while Kahele has 24-point net positive favorability rating (41-17). All three candidates have lower name recognition, with 36% to 46% of voters unsure if they have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of them.
Other key findings from the survey include:
• While Green earns approval from a majority across all age groups, he is especially popular among seniors: 75% of voters older than 65 approve of his overall job performance and 79% approve of his handling of COVID-19.
• The top issues for likely Democratic primary voters are inflation (18%), jobs and the economy (17%), responding to COVID-19 (14%), and climate change (14%).
Public Policy Polling surveyed 644 likely Democratic primary voters in Hawaii from February 8-9, 2022. The margin of error is +/- 3.9%. 50% of interviews for the survey were conducted by telephone and 50% by text message.
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ICYMI: DC questions Rep. Kai Kahele’s absence from Capitol Hill, job with Hawaiian Airlines
In case you missed it, outlets including Politico, Fox News, Punchbowl News, The Daily Beast, Daily Mail, MSNBC, The Washington Examiner, The Washington Free Beacon, and more, are expanding on Nick Grube’s recent piece in Honolulu Civil Beat: Has U.S. Rep. Kai Kahele Given Up on Washington?
In addition to having the attention of DC and national reporters and columnists from, The Washington Post, The New York Times, and Bloomberg, Hawaii-based political blogger Ian Lind touched on the story on iLind:
[L]ike it or not, Congressional politics takes place in Congress. Individual members of congress can’t successfully press Hawaii’s interests by holding photo ops here in Hawaii. It takes the work of building relationships there in Congress to move legislation that will benefit Hawaii. This can’t be done solo. This was the job he signed up for and pledged to do for us. And apparently is not doing.
The pieces below touch on various aspects of Nick’s reporting, including Rep. Kahele’s work on committees with oversight jurisdiction of his second employer, Hawaiian Airlines. Here’s what Capitol Hill is saying about Rep. Kahele’s absence from the nation’s capital:
“Piloting gig: A well-researched Honolulu Civil Beat story on Rep. Kai Kahele’s (D-Hawaii) proxy voting record caught our attention, particularly this line: “Kahele, too, continues to work as a Hawaiian Airlines pilot, a job that paid him nearly $120,000 in 2020, according to his most recent House financial disclosure report.
The rules: Kahele was elected in 2020 to replace former Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), so his income before he entered Congress isn’t an issue. But House ethics rules cap lawmakers at about $29,000 in annual outside income, so we were curious about the line that Kahele “continues to work” as a pilot despite entering Congress.
As we pointed out in the Midday edition yesterday, Hawaiian Airlines lobbies Congress. Kahele is on the aviation panel of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee – the committee that oversees the airline industry.
As we also noted in the Midday edition, Kahele has co-sponsored several pieces of legislation that Hawaiian Airlines was lobbying on.
So, Kahele’s directly involved in considering legislation that his part-time employer – Hawaiian Airlines – is looking to influence. This is on top of serving on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, which has jurisdiction over the aviation industry.
Rep. Kai Kahele (D-HI) has a chronic allergy to Capitol Hill, if a Monday analysis of his House voting record by Honolulu Civil Beat is anything to go by. Kahele has only been present in Washington, D.C., for five of 120 votes cast in 2022—relying on his colleagues to cast his vote via proxy for the other 115. His burst of in-person productivity, the Civil Beat reported, all occurred over three days in January, and he hasn’t been back to the Capitol since.
A congressman who ran on a promise of giving constituents full-time representation has been absent from the Capitol for most of this year, according to a new report.
Rep. Kai Kahele, D-Hawaii, has rarely shown up for work in Washington, D.C., this year, only casting five votes in person over the course of three days in January, according to an analysis from the Honolulu Civil Beat.
Trading the nation’s capital for the friendly skies?
Rep. Kaiali’i Kahele (D-Hawaii) has been absent from Congress for most of 2022, only voting in person five times — causing many to question what the congressman and commercial airline pilot is doing with his time.
314 Action Fund is powered by a grassroots community of over six million people working to elect scientists, doctors, and STEM professionals who will use science and facts to address our most pressing issues like climate change and health care. In 2018 and 2020, we played a pivotal role in flipping the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, electing eleven Democratic scientists to federal office, as well as in helping over 100 statewide, state legislative, and municipal candidates win their races. In 2022, 314 Action Fund will continue working to elect science leaders and defeat climate deniers in Congress and legislatures across the country.