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Thursday, August 21, 2014         

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GOP meeting will zero in on local races

Party members will also choose national committee representatives this weekend

By Treena Shapiro

Associated Press

POSTED:



Hawaii Republicans will elect new national committee representatives at their state convention this weekend.

Otherwise, party leaders expect the session's focus to be primarily local, with just a video clip sent over from the national party.

If all goes as planned, the election of delegates to the national convention should be straightforward.

In March the Hawaii Republican Party held its first formal and binding presidential caucus. The results bound all but three of Hawaii's 20 delegates to presidential candidates in proportion to their share of the vote.

However, that had also been the case in Maine and Nevada, where U.S. Rep. Ron Paul's campaign nonetheless managed to take bound delegates from front-runner Mitt Romney.

"I believe that there's not much of a chance of that happening here," said Hawaii GOP Executive Director Nacia Blom. She explained that all but Hawaii's three superdelegates are already pledged. "We were given the numbers and we already know (how the count will turn out)."

Two of the three superdelegates — the national committeeman and national committeewoman — will be elected at the state convention, even though National Committeeman Ted Liu was just recently elected, Blom said.

Neither Paul's national or local campaign could be reached for comment on Monday. The Texas congressman has a loyal following in Hawaii, and his supporters voiced frustration four years ago when Paul wasn't given the same attention as then-presumptive nominee John McCain. They are likely to once again show up to support their candidate.

BLOM said the convention's focus will be largely on state races. Mandatory redistricting means all state legislators must run this year to stay in office. That could open the door for Republican caucus numbers to grow at the Legislature.

The 51-member House has eight Republicans. The 25-member Senate has only one.

Hawaii Republicans also have their eyes on seats at the U.S. Capitol.

U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Akaka is retiring at the end of this term, offering hopefuls the rare chance at an open seat.

On the Republican side, former Gov. Linda Lingle is expected to be a serious contender. Both she and her primary opponent — former Air Force and commercial pilot John Carroll — will appear at the convention.

Former U.S. Rep. Charles Djou will also be pres­ent. Djou, who was elected briefly to represent Hawaii's 1st Congressional District in a 2010 special election, has thrown his hat into the ring again to win a full term.

The seat is being vacated by U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono, who hopes to succeed Akaka. To do so, she will have to first beat former U.S. Rep. Ed Case in the Demo­cratic primary.






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