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Tuesday, June 11, 2024
Crooks and Cronies on the Move in Primary Races
By Andrew Walden @ 5:31 AM :: 3931 Views :: Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, OHA, Republican Party

by Andrew Walden

With no exciting top-of-the ticket statewide contests, Primary Day, Saturday, August 10, 2024, may be a low-turnout affair even by Hawaii standards--but that doesn’t mean there aren’t interesting and important down-ticket races at stake.

OHA Trustee Races:

Keli’i Akina, OHA’s only honest Trustee, is being challenged by three has-beens in an obviously coordinated effort to oust Akina from his at-large seat:

--Peter Apo, who last ran for office in 2014, is known mostly for his record-setting $25,000 ethics fine and a $50,000 sex harassment settlement, which OHA paid on his behalf in 2017. Apo did not run for reelection in 2018. 

--Lei Ahu Isa -- defeated in 2022.

--Brendon Lee -- defeated in 2022.  Fun Read: Trustee: OHA Should be a Center of Influence Peddling.  Another Fun Read: Insider Cacao Scheme: KSBE out $4M -- but OHA Dodges Bullet.

Another OHA race, Hawaii Resident Trustee, features Kai Kahele who lost interest in the Congressional seat Neil Abercrombie engineered for him and then launched a bizarre 2022 gubernatorial candidacy.  Kahele, who allegedly once threatened to kill his ex-wife and kidnap their child, just received the endorsement of Mililani Trask who is retiring from OHA after teaming up with Unity House felon Roberta Cabral to grift $5M for geothermal schemes and another $4M for Kakaako Makai lobbying.  Kahele faces Zuri Aki and two other candidates.  Fun Read: Delusional Kai Kahele Thought Andy Winer Would Make Him Governor.

OHA incumbents resident on Kauai and Molokai are also up for statewide reelection. 

State Legislature:

HD43: With no Democrat running, Republican primary voters will decide whether incumbent GOP ‘traitor’ Rep Kanani Souza will be replaced by Republican Sheila Medeiros.  Souza is mostly known for walking out on the House GOP Caucus to join up with demonstrators demanding more transsexuals in Hawaii elementary schools.

SD22 / HD45: Democrat Sen Maile Shimabukuro ‘defeated’ Republican challenger Samantha Decorte by only 40 votes in the 2022 race for Senate District 22.  Recognizing that she is finished, Shimabukuro quit the Senate early, thus giving Josh Green the opportunity to appoint her successor in a desperate bid to keep the seat in Democrat hands.  After Decorte faces a Republican primary, the winner will face off against either Stacelynne Eli or Cedric Gates.  Gates is giving up his HD45 seat to run.  Two HD45 Republicans and four Democrats are running for their respective party nomination.

SD23: Clayton Hee is trying to sneak back into the State Senate.   Republican incumbent Sen. Brenton Awa pulled and filed nomination papers at the very last minute.  Democrats Clayton Hee and Ben Shafer will face off in the primary.  In November, Awa will face the winner of the Hee v Shafer SD23 Democratic Primary.  Awa’s strategy: He doesn’t plan to campaign for reelection.

Republicans elected four new Representatives and one new Senator, Awa, in 2022—their first legislative gains for Republicans since 2000.  With the exception of Rep Gene Ward and the winner of the HD43 Primary, every incumbent Republican legislator is facing a Democrat General Election opponent.  Unlike the Primary, the General Election does have a top-of-the ticket draw—the presidential election.  In a Democrat state, this likely works in favor of down-ticket Democrat candidates.

HD32 Moanalua: Republican challenger Garner Shimizu vs. Mercado Kim crime family figure Micah Aiu. In 2022 Shimizu came within 248 votes of winning.  What is the history?  “Micah Po'okela Kim Aiu, finally did go to UH Law school in 2013--a year after lying to his mommy about it.  After graduating, he got the kind of job all brand new lawyers get--general counsel for Nan Inc--where he today 'earns' $100-150K per year.  In 2022, he was elected to ‘represent’ HD32, encompassing Aloha Stadium.  Nan Inc, led by convicted bid-rigging felon Patrick Shin, is a partner in the 'Wailoa' group competing to redesign Aloha Stadium.”

HD25: All eyes are on the Kakaako collision at the intersectionality. Will ‘woke’ Democrat primary voters dump House Speaker Scott Saiki in favor of transsexual Mr Kim Coco Iwamoto – thus opening the door for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs to build gigantic condo towers at Kakaako Makai?  Are million dollar views less valuable than that warm fuzzy feeling of political correctness?  Mr Iwamoto has come close in the last two cycles.  We will find out August 10.  There is no Republican in the race.

In addition to HD45, Democrats have primary contests for open seats in HD2 Hilo, HD20 Diamond Head, and HD23 McCully.  Of these, only HD20 has a Republican challenger.

Three Senators and eight Representatives are unchallenged for reelection.

According to the Office of Elections, “Hawaii voters can expect to receive their Primary Election ballot in the mail by July 23, 2024.”

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