An interesting expensive race

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 “Politics has become so expensive that it takes a lot of money even to be defeated.”

  • Will Rogers


For a very long time we used to wonder why a political candidate would spend 10, 20 or 30 time more than an office paid to win an election. There are several reason, of course, including:

a) In most cases, candidates are spending someone else’s money not their own.

b) There is no finer way to stroke a big ego than by winning an election.

c) And, most importantly, election are about power and influence.

Reasons a) and c) above are closely related. Companies, unions and individuals pour money into campaigns to gain influence. Usually, candidates of a certain party are aligned with tenets that a company or union supports, so it is no difficult to pick whom to back in any particular election.

But, Hawaii has an interesting selection in the upcoming gubernatorial election. It can be seen as a problem, and opportunity or a conundrum, depending on one’s perspective.

There is a true three-way race for governor this year – Democrat David Ige, Republican James Aiona and Independent Mufi Hannemann. Hannemann is the wild card in the race.

Usually, labor lines up solidly behind the Democratic candidate. But Hannemann has already received endorsements from the State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers, the Sheet Metal Workers and the Teamsters.

Republicans generally have strong support from business. But Hannemann is known as a moderate with strong business ties. He has received the endorsement of Maui Mauyor Alan Arakawa, a leader who is considered business-friendly on the Valley Isle.

So, it will be interesting to see where the campaign money flows this fall. Ige and Aiona will have the benefit of funds from their respective parties’ national governor funds. Other huge PACs will probably go for the Democrat and Republican candidates.

It will undoubtedly be a hard-fought, expensive race.

(Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher)

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