Political Radar

Do over

March 21st, 2013

Former state Rep. Gil Riviere, who narrowly lost his first re-election campaign in the Republican primary last year, wants to take the North Shore seat back.

Riviere said he will challenge Rep. Richard Fale in the Republican primary next year in House District 47. "I'm running," he said Wednesday.

Riviere, a mortgage broker active in the North Shore conservation movement, has personally informed Fale of his plans.

Some Republican operatives were privately disappointed that the party did not do more in the 2012 elections to protect House incumbents. Along with Riviere's primary loss, former Rep. Corinne Ching and former Rep. George Fontaine fell to Democrats in the general election.

The GOP only holds seven House seats, so the party can ill afford to leave incumbents vulnerable.

Republicans were placed in an awkward position, however, of choosing sides between Riviere and Fale, and will now have to do so again in 2014.

6 Responses to “Do over”

  1. Manoa_Fisherman:

    Rather than taking on Fale, Riviere should be taking on Clayton Hee. The GOP is well known for making poor strategic decisions and wasting party resources. Reminds me of the Monty Python skit of the Upper Class Twit of the Year competition where the winners all kill themselves.

  2. Kolea:

    Gil Riviere is caught between a rock and a hard place. He is generally popular among the voters of the North Shore for his strong defense of the region from over-development. And because he is a decent, commonsense, approachable guy. Fale's support comes from hardline conservatives and the well-organized Mormon voting bloc, centered on Laie. In a straightup contest, Riviere would win easily.

    But the structure of our election system won't allow for a straightup contest. Riviere will have to run as a Republican, a Democrat, a Green or as "non-partisan" when he files. Apparently Gil is not a good fit for either the Dems or the Greens, though why he has concluded this is not evident to me. If he runs as a Republican, he is at the mercy of those North voters willing to take a Republican primary ballot, thereby not being able to vote on what is likely to be a more exciting Democratic primary ballot, potentially with heated battles for the Governorship, the US Senate and the Second Congressional seat.

    If Hanabusa decides to run against Abercrombie for Guv, or Schatz for the Senate seat, how many of the environmentally-minded, "good government" North Shore voters who are Riviere's natural base will be willing to take a GOP ballot to vote for him and NOT be able to vote in those other races? Meanwhile, Fale's Mormon and conservative voters will undoubtedly stay on the Republican side of the fence. Heck, they apparently took a GOP ballot last election in order to vote for Fale (and defend Mormon Church development interests) last election, despite the urge to vote for fellow Mormon, Mufi Hanneman against Tulsi Gabbard.

    As someone ho likes Gil and who thinks, on balance, the party primary system is preferable to non-partisan elections (or totally open primaries), let me suggest he may want to consider running as a non-partisan instead. I BELIEVE he would only need to get 10% of the vote total of either the GOP primary winner for the House seat or the Democrat, whichever is lower. IF my understanding of the law is correct, that should be relatively easy to accomplish. Certainly easier than defeating Fale under the circumstances as I have described them. When he advances to the General Election, he could then reap the MANY votes from the environmentally minded voters who will then be free to vote for him over Fale and whoever the Dems come up with. While I would not recommend that strategy for most districts, it strikes me as custom-tailored for the situation he faces.

    Once elected, he could negotiate with the Dems and Republicans as to which camp he would caucus with, once elected and poised to serve in the House. Gil, think it over. I think you are a VALUABLE presence in the House discussions. I would hate to see you blocked by the particular circumstances in your district, especially when I believe you have the support of most of the residents of your district.

  3. Especially Incognito:

    Seven seats of Seven dwarfs.

  4. Nikki Heat:

    Hey Kolea. Running as a Non-Partisan sure worked out well for the kid who ran against the State Senator from Maui-Molokai-Lanai.

  5. Sayer:

    Kolea give excellent analysis here. Clearly Riviere is generally supported by the voters and strategy will be of utmost importance to make sure his voice is heard in the legislature.

  6. Especially Incognito:

    It could be.

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