Political Radar

Souki says

June 24th, 2014

State House Speaker Joseph Souki on Tuesday announced that he is endorsing Gov. Neil Abercrombie for re-election.

Abercrombie is in an unexpectedly tight Democratic primary campaign against state Sen. David Ige.

Souki also endorsed Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui, a fellow Maui Democrat.

Tsutsui is up against state Sen. Clayton Hee and former television reporter Mary Zanakis in the Democratic primary.

“Governor Abercrombie works collaboratively with other leaders to do what’s right for the people of Hawaii,” Souki said in a statement. “This year’s legislative session saw the passage of key measures that benefited Hawaii’s people, including more funding for early education, a minimum wage increase and the preservation of Turtle Bay. I am proud to endorse Neil Abercrombie for a second term as governor."

“Lt. Governor Tsutsui has earned the trust and respect of legislators and leaders throughout the islands,” he said. “His rise from being the first senator from Maui to serve as Senate president to his current role as lieutenant governor of our state speaks volumes. I am proud to endorse Shan Tsutsui for lieutenant governor.”

8 Responses to “Souki says”

  1. Especially Incognito:

    souki is a DINO.

  2. utse:

    souki is DINO...that is endorsing the progressive candidate...?

  3. Hawaiino:

    Don't try, it's useless.

    On topic; it seems to me that Speaker Joe is stepping up for one of his few peers still serving. While they are not philosophically "of a feather" they seem to understand the value of service in and of itself and respect each other for it.
    I get this endorsement and everyone,obviously including Speaker Joe, who knows Senator Ige is left to wonder why he has accepted this role of a spoiler.

  4. Hawaii Aloha:

    Hawaiino, I can think of some other reasons for this endorsement.
    Speaker Joe's nephew is a member of The Abercrombie Cabinet--first as the influential head of the State Planning office which the Land Use Commission is under, among other things. Now, Speaker Joe's nephew is Deputy Director at the Board/Department of Land and Natural Resources. If Abercrombie does not get re-elected, there goes Speaker Joe's nephew's plum job !

    Speaker Joe is from Maui and close to LGov Shan who is also from Maui. Appointed by Abercrombie, and feeling some obligation to him, he endorsed Neil before his friend Sen. David Ige declared his candidacy. Now Shan is stuck and in a precarious situation with Abercrombie's long-time close friend, Sen. Clayton Hee entering the race and the governor's people distancing themselves from Shan and talking up friend Hee--at least until the Civil Beat poll came out. Shan, who has never run statewide before, is relying on the Abercrombie campaign organization to get elected. Speaker Joe is supporting Shan and shoring up Neil's iffy support of his loyal LG , whom the Gov promised could work on Maui but has kept working on Oahu, leaving LG Shan's 3 young children at home on Maui without their dad.

    Speaker Joe is past retirement age and has a tenuous hold on the speakership, having reportedly agreed to serve as Speaker only two years, before yielding the speakership to the young leadership of his coalition, and those two years are now up. Speaker Joe likely is still eligible for the High Three pension calculation, and would substantially benefit from an administration appointment at a higher than legislative salary.

    The vast majority of the Legislature supports Sen. Ige, except for the legislators who were appointed by Abercrombie. One just has to watch the Closing Day of Session to see the outpouring of respect, good wishes and Aloha for Sen. Ige by his peers.

  5. Especially Incognito:

    The bird "of a feather" must be flipping.

  6. Especially Incognito:

    Don't try, it's useless." Hawaiino
    Yup, tried by you is useless. How I know?
    I know more than you think, Hawaiiano.

  7. Especially Incognito:

    Right Hawaiirino?

  8. Kolea:

    Hawaii Aloha,

    Some of your thoughts are almost correct. The LUC is not "under" the Office of State Planning, though I am unsure what point you were trying to make was.

    I think Jesse Souki is actually some kind of cousin to Speaker Joe, though the age difference might make it seem like he would be a nephew. It might me noted Jesse Souki was highly regarded enough within the profession that Abercrombie appointed him despite Souki's support for Mufi over Neil during the primary. I suspect Jesse will land on his feet regardless whether Abercrombie or Ige wins. He is a bright and talented guy. In any event, I think it is silly to try to explain Souki's support for Abercrombie out of concern for his cousin/nephew's job future. Perhaps more important for an old fox like Joe Souki would be the constellation of political forces within the Legislature, as well as within Maui politics?

    To say Shan Tsutsui was "appointed" by Abercombie is only true in the narrowest, technical sense. He certainly does not "owe" Neil anything because of the appointment. If anything, the obligation is on the other direction. Shan most emphatically did not want the appointment and had turned it down. The order of succession meant if Shan did not take the job, it would go to Speaker Say, who had just been deposed as Speaker and was more eager than Shan for the job. But Abercrombie's people did not want Say as LG. Even if they could persuade Say to not take the job, the next in line under the law would be the Attorney General, David Louie, who did not want the job and who would have been seen as an "in-house" appointment by the public and as less legitimate.

    So the Governor's people, and the Guv himself, had to cajole Shan into taking the job. The talk about Shan being able to work from Maui was not a serious discussion. Shan was trying to make demands which would have caused the Gov's people to leave him alone. Since his appointment, he has worked from the Honolulu office. By the way, the Guv promised Shan he would be right in the center of decisionmaking in an Abercrombie administration. A promise which has not been kept.

    The only obligation Shan might feel towards the Governor is one of loyalty defined by the institutional relationship. Shan is probably old-fashioned enough to think his is obliged, as LG, to support the Governor. That is different from an obligation out of having been given the job in the first place.

    You say Souki "reportedly" pledged to only serve two years. I would like to see that report. It was "reported" to me at the time there had been no such pledge.

    I think you are correct that a majority of the legislators are more supportive of Ige than of Abercrombie. That is especially true in the Senate, where he is well-liked by his colleagues. The majority of the Senators also appear to be supporting Donna Kim's bid to Congress. But the motives there appear to be different. First, if she loses, she remains in the Senate. That would be uncomfortable for those who do not support her. Second, if she wins, she will be gone from their lives, a mixed blessing in itself. But it also frees up the Senate President position and allows a number of her ambitious colleagues an opportunity to move up.

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