By Derrick DePledge
The Democratic Party of Hawaii on Tuesday reversed course and agreed to allow state Sen. David Ige, who is challenging Gov. Neil Abercrombie in the primary, to speak at the party’s state convention in May.
Ige – like Abercrombie and seven other top elected officials – will be given five minutes to discuss progress toward the party’s platform in front of delegates at the Sheraton Waikiki.
Ige’s campaign advisers complained to the party last week after learning that he and other candidates would not be able to address delegates from the convention podium. Candidates will be given a separate opportunity to appear at a meet-and-greet event at the Royal Hawaiian.
Ige blamed the snub on Abercrombie, since an aide to the governor’s deputy chief of staff is planning the convention, but party officials have insisted that shortening the convention to two days from two and-a-half days makes it impossible to allow all candidates to speak.
The party’s executive committee, however, met privately Tuesday evening at party headquarters in Kakaako and decided to grant Ige’s request for speaking time.