Hawaii candidates eager for election season

Published On: Jun 05 2012 07:08:45 AM HST   Updated On: Jun 05 2012 07:20:36 AM HST

There are a lot of eager politicians already lined up for the 2012 election, even before the official filing deadline.

Several familiar politicians have filed their nomination papers.  Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle made his re-election campaign official, and former state Senator John Carroll jumped into the race for U.S. Senate.

But there are also a number of new names and faces, especially within the Republican Party, as politicians filed early for the fall primary.

"This year we have a number of new candidates," said Nacia Blom, the Executive Director for the Hawaii Republican Party.

Those candidates are now eager for the election season to start, but not all started with political aspirations.

"I didn't want to run.  I'm a typical citizen who started going to meetings and saw concerns -- on issues like homelessness to the economy," said Dr. Marcus Hester, a candidate for State Representative.

Other candidates signed up because the political battle lines have been re-drawn -- because of reapportionment.

"It got much better for Republicans this time around. Redistricting favored the Mililani, Mililani Mauka area for Republicans," said Beth Fukumoto, a candidate for State Representative.

"Reapportionment is a big deal. Almost everyone who is an elected official will be on the ballot," said Lt. Governor Brian Schatz.

Almost everyone except the second-longest-serving elected official in the legislature:  Rep. Barbara Muramoto, who is calling it quits.

Her departure is considered a blow to the Republican party as it works to even the political playing field in Hawaii.

"While we will miss her, it does give you pause when a well-liked incumbent steps down.  It also gives us excitement, because Muramoto can help in a different way, to mentor new candidates, while there will be others to take up the mantle," said Blom.

This year's crop of candidates comes in a wide variety, from seasoned politicians to first-time filers, with various affiliations.

Even Miss Hawaii, Lauren Cheape, is now hoping for the title of House Representative.

But both parties agree:  The more candidates, the better for Hawaii's voters.

"We think it's good that there are going to be choices up and down the ballot, and we will work hard to earn the support of all the voters," said Schatz.

Wednesday is the deadline for candidates to file.  While many are looking forward to some closely contested races, there are a few seats in the legislature that may be filled this fall by candidates who run unopposed.


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