By Derrick DePledge
We have updated our rundown of potentially competitive state House and Senate races for the November general election. The fundraising figures are through the primary. We will refresh when the next round of campaign-finance data is released in late October.
Overview: Hawaii politics is in transition in the wake of the death of U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye and the retirement of U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka. The churn at the top has caused political uncertainty that may take several election cycles to settle. Gov. Neil Abercrombie's historic upset loss to state Sen. David Ige in the Democratic primary has shaken past assumptions about voter behavior. Majority Democrats are certain to keep control of the state House and Senate, but the leadership lineup in both chambers will likely change after the election. Republicans are overdue to correct some of the political imbalance at the Legislature. But many of the GOP’s prospects are religious conservatives who were motivated to run by last year’s special session on gay marriage, a trend that could alienate moderate voters the party needs to compete.
Sen. Michelle Kidani (D)
(Raised for the cycle: $233,373 Cash on hand after primary: $149,485 Loans: $281)
Dennis Kim (R)
(Raised for the cycle: $15,185 Cash on hand after primary: $10,010)
Raymond Banda III (L)
(Raised for the cycle: $625 Cash on hand after primary: $122)
Outlook: Leans Democratic. Kidani is the vice chairwoman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee and oversees the state construction spending outlay. She turned back a primary challenge from former state Rep. Michael Magaoay and easily won re-election in 2012. She also has a sizable war chest. But this is one of the races where gay marriage could be an undercurrent. Kim, an insurance agent and estate planner, has served as the public affairs director for the Mormon church in Hawaii.
Rep. Richard Fale (R)
(Raised for the cycle: $78,726 Cash on hand after primary: $38,371)
Gil Riviere (D)
(Raised for the cycle: $41,375 Cash on hand after primary: $19,649)
Outlook: Open seat. Tossup. Sen. Clayton Hee’s decision to run for lieutenant governor has thrown the political control of this sprawling Windward and North Shore district into uncertainty. Fale, a Mormon who opposes gay marriage, had prepared to take on Hee, one of the sponsors of marriage equality. But the dynamics have shifted with Hee no longer the target in the general election. Riviere, who switched parties and became a Democrat after losing to Fale in a House GOP primary in 2012, is hoping the environment and land conservation trump social issues.
*HD6 (Holualoa, Kailua-Kona, Honokohau)
Rep. Nicole Lowen (D)
(Raised for the cycle: $48,257 Cash on hand after primary: $20,345 Loans: $3,000; $8,500 in total from previous campaign)
Kelly Valenzuela (R)
(For the cycle: $14,670 Cash on hand after primary: $5,928)
Outlook. Tossup. Lowen, a freshman, won a rematch against Kalei Akaka, the granddaughter of retired U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka, in the Democratic primary. Valenzuela, the daughter of the late state lawmaker Wilfred “Buddy” Soares, is among the crop of candidates motivated to run by the special session on gay marriage. The west side district is potentially competitive for Republicans.
HD22 (Waikiki-Ala Moana-Kakaako)
Rep. Tom Brower (D)
(For the cycle: $17,894 Cash on hand after primary: -$151 Loans: $11,674 from previous campaigns)
Janet Grace (R)
(For the cycle: $18,984 Cash on hand after the primary: $7,987)
Outlook: Leans Democratic. Brower, the chairman of the House Tourism Committee, gained attention last year – some of it unwanted – for taking a sledgehammer to stolen shopping carts once used by the homeless. Grace, a former executive director of Hawaii Right to Life who works in home health care, is among the candidates being touted by religious conservatives. She has passed Brower in fundraising.
*HD27 (Nuuanu-Liliha-Alewa Heights)
Rep. Takashi Ohno (D)
(For the cycle: $46,198 Cash on hand after primary: $29,500)
Max Fowler (R)
(For the cycle: $48,527 Cash on hand after primary: $18,329)
Outlook: Tossup. Ohno, a freshman, defeated longtime Republican state Rep. Corinne Ching in 2012 when President Barack Obama’s presence on the ballot helped lift Democratic contenders. Fowler, an associate pastor at Kakaako Christian Fellowship motivated to run after the gay marriage debate, could be formidable. He has eclipsed the incumbent in fundraising and has attracted national Republican attention.
*HD28 (Kamehameha Heights-Kalihi Valley)
House Vice Speaker John Mizuno (D)
(For the cycle: $43,069 Cash on hand after primary: $6,194)
Carole Kaapu (R)
(For the cycle: $15,382 Cash on hand after primary: $9,000 Loans: $3,922)
Outlook: Democratic. Mizuno comfortably defeated Kaapu in 2012. The vice speaker, a Christian, has been active in the faith-based community in his district, but his decision to change his position and support marriage equality disappointed some fellow Christians.
Sam Kong (D)
Robert Helsham (R)
(For the cycle: $12,741 Cash on hand after primary: $2,675)
Outlook: Open. Leans Democratic. Rep. K. Mark Takai’s decision to run for Congress created an open seat. Kong, a florist and religious conservative, lost two House campaigns as a Republican before switching parties to run as a Democrat. Helsham, a consultant, athletic director at Christian Academy, and worship minister at First Assembly of God Red Hill, is among the candidates backed by religious conservatives in the wake of the gay marriage debate.
*HD36 (Mililani-Mililani Mauka-Waipio Acres)
Rep. Beth Fukumoto Chang (R)
(For the cycle: $51,410 Cash on hand after primary: $36,571 Loans: $81)
Marilyn Lee (D)
(For the cycle: $36,893 Cash on hand after primary: $22,214 Loans: $5,000)
Outlook: Leans Republican. Fukumoto, a freshman, is one of the GOP’s emerging young leaders. Lee, a former state representative who lost to Fukumoto in 2012, is seeking a rematch. The district’s shifting suburban demographics make it a bellwether.
*HD41 (Ewa Beach-West Loch Estates)
Matt LoPresti (D)
(For the cycle: $16,816 Cash on hand after primary: $959)
Bryan Jeremiah (R)
(For the cycle: $3,553 Cash on hand after primary: $1,549 Loans: $2,003)
Tom Berg (L)
(For the cycle: -$4,968 Loans: $21,551 from previous campaigns)
Outlook: Leans Democratic. LoPresti, a Hawaii Pacific University philosophy professor, ousted state Rep. Rida Cabanilla in the Democratic primary in his second try for the seat. Jeremiah, a construction worker and associate pastor at New Hope Leeward, nearly withdrew from the race because of his criminal past. Berg, a former city councilman who used to work for Cabanilla and twice unsuccessfully challenged her as a Republican, is running as a Libertarian.
*HD43 (Kalaleloa-Ko Olina-Maili)
Rep. Karen Awana (D)
(For the cycle: $17,607 Cash on hand after primary: $1,649 Loans: $1,124)
Andria Tupola (R)
(For the cycle: $29,417 Cash on hand after primary: $7,944)
Outlook: Leans Democratic. Awana resigned her post as House majority floor leader last year after her fourth fine for campaign-finance violations, which could make her vulnerable. Tupola, a music educator and Mormon who helped organize neighborhood protests against the special session on gay marriage, is among the GOP’s best young prospects.
Rep. Lauren Cheape Matsumoto (R)
(For the cycle: $35,104 Cash on hand after the primary: $12,632)
Michael Magaoay (D)
(For the cycle: $13,846 Cash on hand after the primary: $6,080)
Outlook: Leans Republican. Matsumoto, a former Miss Hawaii, is a freshman with family roots in both the Mililani and Waialua portions of the district. Magaoay is a former state lawmaker attempting a comeback after two unsuccessful campaigns for state Senate.
*HD 47 (Waialua-Kahuku-Waiahole)
Kent Fonoimoana (D)
(For the cycle: $16,627 Cash on hand after primary: $8,564 Loans: $4,000)
Feki Pouha (R)
(For the cycle: $14,064 Cash on hand after primary: $3,887 Loans: $480)
Outlook. Open. Tossup. Rep. Richard Fale’s decision to run for state Senate has created an opening for Democrats to reclaim the North Shore and Windward district. Former state Rep. Gil Riviere, who had lost to Fale in the House GOP primary in 2012, switched parties and became a Democrat with a rematch with Fale in mind. But with Riviere also now running for Senate, the race is wide open. Fonoimoana serves on the neighborhood board. Pouha, who has a personal finance business, is an ally of Fale’s who could compete if gay marriage becomes a driving issue with voters.
Jarrett Keohokalole (D)
(For the cycle: $48,642 Cash on hand after primary: $10,692 Loans: $2,209)
Eldean Kukahiko (R)
(For the cycle: $9,651 Cash on hand after primary: $4,541)
Kaimanu Takayama (L)
Kana Naipo (N)
(For the cycle: $3,088 Cash on hand after primary: $725)
Outlook. Open. Leans Democratic. Rep. Jessica Wooley’s appointment to the state Office of Environmental Quality Control created an open seat. Keohokalole, who defeated former Sierra Club director Robert Harris in the Democratic primary, works on invasive species issues for the state Department of Land and Natural Resources. Kukahiko, a retired police officer and a senior pastor at Hope Chapel Kahaluu, is among the candidates motivated by the gay marriage debate.
Rep. Chris Lee (D)
(For the cycle: $61,927 Cash on hand after primary: $30,331)
Wayne Hikida (R)
(For the cycle: $34,221 Cash on hand after primary: $14,224)
Outlook: Leans Democratic. Lee was the most visible House Democrat in the drive for marriage equality. Hikida is a retired insurance executive and former Mormon bishop influenced to run by the gay marriage debate.