Political Radar

`Nothing definitive'

December 5th, 2013

Several Democratic insiders have said over the past few days that former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann plans to run for Congress.

Hannemann himself, however, is not ready to formally announce for urban Honolulu's 1st Congressional District. "I have nothing definitive to report at this time," he said in a text on Thursday afternoon.

The barrier for Hannemann has been the Democratic primary. He lost to U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard for the 2nd Congressional District last year and to Gov. Neil Abercrombie for governor in 2010 after many insiders believed the former mayor had legitimate chances to prevail.

Hannemann won a primary for Congress over Abercrombie in 1986 -- and lost a special election to Abercrombie to fill out the remainder of U.S. Rep. Cec Heftel's term on the same day -- but failed to beat U.S. Rep. Pat Saiki, a Republican, in the general election.

Hannemann has been viewed as too conservative to win over a primary electorate that has moved to the left over the past decade.

But the crowded field in the primary to replace U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa -- who is vacating her seat to challenge U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz -- could provide Hannemann with an opening. He would have the highest name recognition in a race where the winner could claim victory with a plurality of votes.

State Senate President Donna Mercado Kim, state Rep. K. Mark Takai, Honolulu City Councilman Ikaika Anderson, Honolulu City Councilman Stanley Chang, state Sen. Will Espero and activist Kathryn Xian are the contenders in the primary.

15 Responses to “`Nothing definitive'”

  1. hossana:

    He's a loser..once a loser...alwz a loser. Senate President Donna Mercado Kim will easily win the primary and go on to win the general...she will be a future Governor......Hanneman has seen his days....all have past him by.......He should just resign himself to find a good job and continue his writing in Midweek. Talofa!!

  2. Johnson:

    If he runs, I'll join the many other to campaign against him. Hawaii is better than Hanneman.

  3. Keith Rollman:

    I'm sure Hannemann has already ready-off the StarAdvertiser comment section.

  4. Keith Rollman:

    Should be "written-off" (I hate auto spellers).

  5. Forward Observer:

    Who is Mufi?

  6. sato:

    I think Hawaii is tired of career politicians and want new blood. Takai or Anderson is who most progressives are going to be looking at

  7. Sayer:

    Man this Mufi running for Congress thing is getting kind of old, dontcha think?

  8. Especially Incognito:

    Politicians are not tired of being politicians,
    since once they accept donations, they owe
    something in return. They have to run again
    since they have to pay back their "bribes".

    Ready-off sounds like palin words.
    Can't refuidate that. It worked for her.
    I like that "ready-off". I don't like palin.

  9. Gale:

    Takai or Anderson for progressives? I don't think so. That whole current field is rather conservative. The progressive wing of the Party is waiting for another candidate, and not Mufi Hannemann.

    Also, the better Colleen Hanabusa does, the lower Donna Kim's chances. Donna and Mufi are going to be fun to watch in debates, though.

    There are persistent rumors that Mufi is looking at Congress and the Council seat he originally held. If he runs for Council, the thought is that he would run for Mayor against Kirk Caldwell in 2016. People are wondering if Mufi will ever grow out of the old stepping stone mentality.

  10. Kolea:

    I agree with Gale. If "progressives are going to be looking at" Takai or Anderson, it will be out of desperation. I haven't warmed up to the candidacy of Kathryn Xian, but she is clearly the only unabashed "progressive" in the race. Apart from her, I agree with Gale's remarks, the rest of "current field is rather conservative. The progressive wing of the Party is waiting for another candidate, and not Mufi Hannemann."

    The lack of progressives in this field calls into question the ability of progressive Democratic activists to cultivate and support talent. There are some progressives in the legislature, but they are sitting out the congressional race. If Mufi does decide to run, I am having a hard time anticipating what that does to the dynamics. When he ran in the Second CD, it forced upon the other candidates a need to emerge as the "anti-Mufi" candidate an Tulsi emerged as the Golden Child, assigned that task.

    In this field, Kim, Takai (and possibly Anderson) are "the strongest candidates" (by conventional reasoning, which matters to potential campaign contributors and experienced campaign operatives). It is hard to distinguish Kim from Mufi from Takai from Anderson on the basis of POLICY. Mufi, Kim and Anderson strike me as all being close to development interests and fairly conservative. They ahve all served on the Council and were forced to make their views known on many issues. Takai's policy views have been hidden behind the veil of machinations in the House. He moved to support marriage equality (as did Anderson), but it is har to see that as unrelated to his decision to run for Congress in a Democratic primary.

    So I do not see this field as allowing for a clear "anti-Mufi" candidate to emerge. Will we be reduced to deciding who we dislike the least? That is not a healthy basis for a congressional election. No wonder people don't vote.

  11. Kolea:

    I think Blake Oshiro could win this race if he entered. But I understand he feels obliged to help rescue Governor Abercrombie from his disastrous collapse of popular support. Scott Nishimoto's name was mentioned in another context on this blog,as an example of the Babes Against Biotech's inability to distinguish between allies and genuine adversaries. Scott might be able to mount a credible campaign and provide someone for progressives to rally around. But I am afraid his name is too unknown, even among the progressives who might find a reason to support him. And would he be willing to run against Takai, given that they are both aligned with the Luke-Saiki group in the House?

  12. Especially Incognito:

    What's its posterior motive in running?

  13. ohiaforest3400:

    Kolea, I was following everything you were saying until you got to Nishimoto. Vain, preening, finger-in-the-wind politician whose only real conviction is to get his weekly haircut. Seriously.

  14. Kolea:

    Ohia, I appreciate your knowledge of the legislators, even if we might each see slightly different things.

    Can you suggest a name for the congressional race? It is a shame to see a new seat open up and not see a decent liberal in the field.

  15. Especially Incognito:

    Maybe someone can fill the empty seat on the right.

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