New Hawaii political party; familiar face possibly as candidate

Published On: Feb 20 2014 10:32:28 PM HST   Updated On: Feb 20 2014 11:00:00 PM HST

Hawaii has a new political party, and may soon have a new candidate for Governor.

Click here to watch Yunji de Nies' report.

The Hawaii Independent Party registered this afternoon and by Thursday evening, the Office of Elections confirmed they gathered enough signatures to be a certified political party. Now a familiar face, former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann, could soon join the race for Governor.

No stranger to politics, Hannemann first ran for office back in 1986. Since then he's ran many times, but always as a Democrat. That could soon change.

Just before the 4:30 p.m. deadline Thursday, people with the Hawaii Independent Party walked into the elections office to certify as a new political party. They need 706 registered voters' signatures. Then later that night, election officials confirmed the new party met that threshold.

But before the certification, Hannemann told KITV4, "If they are able to certify the party, I will seriously consider running for governor as an independent."

Political analyst Neil Milner shared some input on Hannemann as a candidate.

"I don't think Mufi Hannemann has that much of a chance."

Milner says having no party would hurt him.

"People who call themselves Independents tend to vote disproportionately either for one party or another, so he has a problem with the Independents. He has a problem with the Democrats because his last two races have shown that he's not very popular with the Democrats," said Milner. "With a formidable Republican in the race, I don't know where he will find sufficient votes to pull this off."

So far, Gov. Neil Abercrombie and State Senator David Ige - both Democrats - are the only declared candidates in the race.

Former Lt. Gov. Duke Aiona is likely to run as a Republican. So if Hannemann gets in, who does he hurt?

"He would probably hurt the Democratic candidate more because Republicans are going to stay pretty solidly behind Aiona and Mufi still has a base in there – a number of people he could draw away," said Milner.

On the KITV4 Facebook page, many flooded our page with comments.

Brandon Nogami wrote, "Mufi loves Mufi. Mufi is entering the election because he doesn't want Duke Aiona to have a chance!"

Walter Omori countered saying, "Go Mufi go!!! You got the tools to be governor. They're just afraid of you. I'm totally with you."

Hannemann has until Jun. 3 to decide whether he will get in the race. In the meantime, we want you to keep weighing in. Comment below or on our KITV4 Facebook page.


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