by Andrew Walden
Climaxing a vigorous campaign for Oahu County Chair, more than three hundred Honolulu Republicans participated in the Honolulu County GOP convention at Kawananakoa Elementary School in Pauoa Saturday morning.
Malia Gray, legislative office manager for Rep Lynn Finnegan, faced former Ron Paul Hawaii campaign leader Dan Douglass in the contest for County Chair. Both candidates recruited new Republican Party members and mobilized supporters for the event. Gray reported her team recruiting 300 new Republican Party members and identifying 20 Legislative candidates to run in 2010 during the last few weeks of campaigning.
Linda Smith, nominating Gray for Chair noted Republicans are, “fortunate to have two very capable candidates running. Organizing the grassroots is the essence of a successful party.“ Gray’s nomination was seconded by Lt Governor Duke Aiona who said: “Look at the turnout today. Isn’t competition great?”
Douglass was nominated by Rep Kym Pine and former Honolulu County Chair Jimmy Kuroiwa. Accepting the nomination Douglass asked that delegates support him, “only if you will be leaders in your block and your district.”
Malia Gray said: “I’ve heard a lot about what the Party should do. But look around, you are the Party.”
Governor Lingle suggested that both Gray and Douglass are the kind of people who “should be running for public office.”
Lingle called for unity and emphasized, “You don’t win elections when you are split into factions. The Legislative Democrats are on the verge of giving us double the biggest tax increase we’ve ever had….Is there anybody in this room who supports tax increases? Democrats have handed us an issue we can unite around.”
House Minority Leader Lynn Finnegan emphasized the House Minority caucus is: “Committed to killing any GE Tax increase.” Said Finnegan, “We want labor issues back on the table.” She announced a House Republican news conference Monday at 11:30 in front of the Capitol.
Also speaking Tracy Nakano Bean, and representatives of John Felix, Keoki Leong, and Wilson Kekoa Ho. All are competing in the special election for Oahu Council District 3 seat left vacant by the untimely death of councilwoman Barbara Marshall. (Related: Advertiser)
The turnout impressed many veteran Republican leaders. Outgoing County Chair Tercia Ku said attendance was 10 times that of the previous convention. National Committeewoman Miriam Hellreich said: “We haven’t seen this (turnout) in years.” Senator Fred Hemmings looked at the crowd and said, “We are the hope and change for the future.“
The vote was 141 for Malia Gray and 105 for Dan Douglass.
Several positions were uncontested: Nadine Nishioka was elected County Secretary, Chris Wong was elected Vice Chair for West Oahu (HD 25-32), Suk Moses VC-Leeward (HD 40-46), Justin Menolascino VC-Central (HD 33-39), and Eliza Talbot VC Windward (HD 47-51).
In contested races, Chico Figueiredo won as County Treasurer over Anna Marie Preston by a margin of 126-82. Adrienne King beat Lori Wingard by a margin of 65 to 25 for Vice Chair, East Oahu (HD 17-24).
After the results were announced, Douglass embraced Gray. Gray then introduced the newly-elected County officers.
Said Talbot, “I have never seen the enthusiasm and positivism that is in the room today. This is a new Republican Party.”
Also meeting today, thirty delegates at the Kauai County Republican Convention elected Bill Georgi County Chair. He was unopposed. Maui County and Hawaii County Republican Conventions are scheduled for Saturday, March 21.
The Hawaii State Republican convention will be held on the Big Island in Waikoloa May, 15-17. Malia Gray is supporting Jonah Kaauwai for State Chair.
RELATED: HawaiiReporter article
Hawaii Republican Party: www.gophawaii.com
Malia Gray/Jonah Kaauwai info: http://www.ourpartyourohana.com
Hawaii Republican Party State Convention
May 15-17, 2009 Marriott Waikoloa Beach Resort