Tuesday, November 24, 2015         

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GOP endorsements land Okino in trouble with Democratic Party

By B.J. Reyes


Democratic state House candidate Gary Okino could be expelled, censured or reprimanded by his party for supporting Republican candidates in the upcoming primary election.

Party Chairman Dante Carpenter confirmed yesterday a formal complaint had been filed against Okino stemming from e-mails sent by the outgoing City Council member that endorsed some GOP candidates.

Okino, who is running in the Democratic primary against Rep. Blake Oshiro (D, Aiea-Halawa), said: "I really want to work with candidates who have the right intentions, and neither party has a lock on the good candidates. They come from both parties. If we're going to make a difference at the Legislature — that's the reason why I've been working on both sides of the aisle. I hope I can continue to do that.

"I wouldn't blame them if they took some action to expel me from the party, but I'm not going to back off on that because I think to make improvements to our system I'm going to have to find good candidates on both sides, in both parties and maybe even nonpartisans."

Carpenter said he notified Okino of the complaint and his violation of the party's constitution, which states: "A member of the Democratic Party of Hawaii may be expelled, censured or reprimanded for the following reasons: 1) Active support or promotion of a political party or any candidate(s) of a political party other than the Democratic Party."

"He is certainly aware that he did, in fact, actively support or promote candidates from other than the Democratic Party, which is his privilege," Carpenter said. "But as long as he's a member of the Democratic Party and basically attempting to uphold the principles thereof, he is in violation."

In an e-mail last week, Okino sent out a list of endorsements to counter recommendations of the Democratic Party of Hawaii's gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered caucus. Okino endorsed Democrats and Republicans based on whether they are against abortion and civil unions, urging people to vote based on religion.

His endorsements included Cam Cavasso, a Republican, over U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii; U.S. Rep. Charles Djou, R-Hawaii, over state Senate President Colleen Hanabusa; and GOP state House candidate Julia Allen over House Speaker Calvin Say.

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