Political Radar


December 10th, 2013

Some of Joe Napolitan's work on Hawaii campaigns is popping up in tributes to the late influential political consultant.

Napolitan advised former Hawaii governors John Burns, George Ariyoshi and Ben Cayetano and also helped other island candidates.

From fellow consultant Mark Mellman, in The Hill:

In Hawaii, Joe defended incumbent Gov. Jack Burns, who began his 1970 reelection race 20 points behind and came across as a sour-faced old man. Making another film, Joe, who understood the role of emotion, shot 100 minutes of film for every one minute that made the final cut. The music Joe selected was a Beach Boys song, “Catch a Wave,” which became the campaign’s theme and later the title of a biography of Burns, who surfed to reelection.

From Campaigns & Elections:

Napolitan's firm, Napolitan & Associates, was based in Springfield, Mass. but his influence extended far beyond the Bay State. In fact, it was in Hawaii where Democratic consultant Richard Schlackman got to know Napolitan during a gay marriage campaign in the 1990s.

"There would not be a political consulting industry without Joe Napolitan. Period," says Schlackman. "He was a heavyweight. Joe worked with [John F.] Kennedy, with [Lyndon] Johnson. He was there when Tony [Schwartz] made the bomb ad. He had to approve it."

Leave a Reply

By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Star-Advertiser's TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. Because only subscribers are allowed to comment, we have your personal information and are able to contact you. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, email commentfeedback@staradvertiser.com.