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Hannemann rejects flier's claims against opponent

A Christian group is behind ads criticizing Abercrombie's record on faith-related issues

By Derrick DePledge

LAST UPDATED: 2:09 a.m. HST, Sep 4, 2010

Former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann said yesterday he would ask his supporters not to distribute a flier by a Christian interest group that claim s former U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie, his opponent in the Democratic primary for governor, mocked and voted against the faith-based community while in Congress.

The flier, produced by Island Values, claim s Abercrombie was one of a handful in Congress not to declare a religious affiliation. The flier also says Abercrombie would push for same-sex marriage.

Abercrombie has said he is Episcopalian.

Island Values also released a radio advertisement featuring Dennis Arakaki, a former state lawmaker and leader of the Hawaii Family Forum, that describes Abercrombie as "unacceptable" to voters who share traditional Christian values. The ad says both Hannemann and Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona, the leading Republican candidate for governor, are acceptable but urged voters to back Hannemann in the primary because Aiona is favored to win easily.

Although the ad claims not to be affiliated with any candidate, lawyer Ken Wong is listed as a deputy treasurer of Island Values. Wong is also a member of Hannemann's campaign committee and has done outreach for the former mayor among Christians.

Wong, through an aide, said he is a Hannemann supporter but has no official role with the Hannemann campaign.

Hannemann, in a statement, said the flier "paints a harsh picture of his (Abercrombie's) congressional voting record on issues of faith and religion. Legitimate issues deserve full and thorough discussion and evaluation, and the tenor and tone of this flier do not encourage that."

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