Two former Governors show support against incumbent Governor

Published On: Mar 02 2014 01:30:00 PM HST

Two former governors are throwing their support behind State Senator David Ige, the gubernatorial candidate running against the incumbent in the upcoming Democratic primary.

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Former Governor Ben Cayetano talked about his long time friend,  political partner and current Governor Neil Abercrombie.

"I think he's lost some of the things he's stood for," said Cayetano at a ceremony marking the opening of Ige's campaign headquarters Saturday.

Cayetano says he's voted for his colleague in every election. He and his wife contributed $12,000 to Abercrombie's first campaign for governor four years ago.

But that won't happen this time because he believes his friend has changed.

"Neil used to be a champion of the little guys in Kaka'ako, he used to worry about the average working person," Cayetano said. "Now he does a lot of favors for the people who want to develop the area."

Instead, Cayetano has come out early in this Democratic Primary in support of Ige, who represents Pearl City, Waimalu and Aiea.

After hearing of Cayetano's comments, Abercrombie shrugged the news. saying that's politics.

"I come back from the days of Tom Gill, Governor Ariyoshi, Jack Burns, Nelson Doi and Frank Fasi. So we had some real "donnybrooks" and some real differences in those days." said Governor Neil Abercrombie. "This is the Democratic Party. What we're arguing about is the best approach to accomplish the tasks of the Democratic Party."

Former Governor George Ariyoshi is also on Ige's side, saying that if Ige isn't elected he'd worry about what's ahead for the state.

"My opinion is that he (Ige) will be the best for Hawaii's future," said Ariyoshi.

Although relatively unknown in statewide races, Ige is campaigning on systematic changes.

"They (his constituents) believe that government is broken, it's not listening, it's not taking action on their behalf," Ige said. "I am committed to listening, to hearing all side, being respectful and then most importantly to finding common ground."

Political Analyst Neal Milner believes this early support is significant.

"If you waited later on they wouldn't have the same kind of effect." Milner told KITV. "They want to have Abercrombie out of there."

Milner says the key is whether Ige can turn this old school support into votes.

"How he's going to be able to fill the gap, not just because Abercrombie sold out to the bigger interests, but what do I do," Milner said. "That's going to be a very crucial case and I think that's an open question. He did pretty well in the polls but pretty well is not the same as winning."

A recent civil beat poll shows  Abercrombie and  Ige in a dead heat with 37 percent of those polled supporting each candidate.

The remaining 26-percent is undecided.


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