In a stunning display of strength for the progressive movement in Hawaii, Kim Coco Iwamoto is within 162 votes of beating Speaker of the House Scott Saiki, arguably one of the most powerful men in Hawaii. HD26 (Kakaako)
Hawaii News Now is reporting the race as “too close to call” stating that approximately 2,500 votes statewide remain uncounted. Note to readers: As of August 16th I have seen no further reports to indicate anything has changed. My assumption is that the 2,500 ballots yet to be counted did not impact any race.
In his 26 years in office, Saiki had never seriously been challenged and started the race with $222,230 in his campaign war chest, versus Iwamoto’s $17,886. Saiki had the support of every single public worker union (whose pay raises during the pandemic Saiki had vocally supported), virtually the entire business establishment (given that he has consistently blocked increasing the minimum wage) and a local media that refused to even acknowledge that Iwamoto was a serious challenger.
On top of it all, Speaker Saiki utilized his power and position and both his campaign budget and his official legislative budget, to flood his district’s mailboxes with official-looking brochures touting his work on pandemic issues.
Yes, the entire political and business establishment rallied together to beat Kim Coco Iwamoto. They may, or may not have won this election, but Kim Coco Iwamoto and those in Hawaii who are fighting to put people and the planet above corporate profits, are definitely winning the war.
On another battle-front between corporate profits and protecting the ‘aina, is another “too close to call” race between Walter Ritte, a man who is unquestionably a champion for all Hawaii, and incumbent Lynne DeCoite. At the time of this email, Ritte was just 91 votes shy of victory. HD13 (Molokai/Maui)
Running in their first re-election campaigns incumbent Representatives Amy Perruso and Tina Wildberger both soundly trounced their challengers, proving that a new legislator can speak out, oppose the establishment when necessary – and still get reelected. HD46 (Wahiawa) & HD11 (Kihei Maui)
Sonny Ganaden, a true champion for working people has overwhelmingly beaten incumbent Representative Romy Cachola 1,470 to 831. HD30 (Kalihi)
First-time candidate Adrian Tam, a strong progressive and emerging young leader, also appears to have carved out a narrow 143 vote win, against the House Leadership backed incumbent Representative Tom Brower. HD22 (Waikiki)
Another newcomer, Trish La Chica HD36 (Mililani) won her primary solidly. Trish’s campaign is based on her “dedication to fighting against unjust systems and policies that favor those with wealth and power.” HD36 (Mililani)
Former Representative Matt LoPresti “the comeback kid” who is a solid progressive also won his primary with strong numbers. HD41 (Ewa)
Lisa Marten’s win is also emerging as a victory for progressives and those in the environmental community. This Windward Oahu district was fortunate to have several good candidates competing and though my choice was Alan Akao who did not make the cut – this district and the progressive/environmental community will be well represented here by Lisa Marten. HD51 (Kailua/Waimanalo)
Similarly, on the Big Island there were two solid individuals running for the same seat, who share the world view of putting people and the planet first. Jeanne Kapela came out on top over Colehour Bondera who is also a friend and ally. HD5 (Kona)
So let’s do the math for the State House of Representatives – 8 solid wins for people and the planet, with 2 more “on the bubble”. #winning
During the course of this campaign journey, I came to the conclusion that we had at least 19 solid candidates running for the State House who shared our world view of environmental, economic, and social justice. To each of you who ran, please know that you are a hero in my book. I know a little bit about what it takes to run a campaign for public office, and the toll it can take on family, friends, and finances.
Whether you are one of those candidates who made it over the top, or perhaps you fell short – you should be commended for your willingness to put it out there. Many in our community talk about change, but few are willing to actually make the commitment to enter the arena and risk defeat.
I lost my first race in 1994 for the Kauai County Council and it was the worst day of my life. I ran again in 1998 and won. In total, I have run for public office 10 different times, winning 6 and falling short in 4. I encourage every candidate that was not successful this time, to take the time needed to rest and catch-up on family and personal stuff…and then start working on the next campaign.
After-all – 2022 starts now.
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” Theodore Roosevelt