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Okino quits Democrats; could still be punished

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 2:45 a.m. HST, Nov 12, 2010

Outgoing City Councilman Gary Okino has resigned from the Democratic Party, although the party's Oahu County Committee may still mete out discipline because of his support of Republican candidates in this year's elections. 

Okino lost his bid for a seat in the state House to Rep. Blake Oshiro in the Democratic primary.

His resignation, submitted Oct. 6, has been accepted, state party Chairman Dante Carpenter said.

But Oahu County Chairman Tony Gill said the committee is expected to issue its ruling this weekend on a complaint filed against Okino.

"We'll see what the county committee wants to do," Gill said. "The case is not moot merely because he resigned."

The party's constitution states that any member could face disciplinary actions, including reprimand, censure or expulsion for publicly supporting candidates of another party. Gill said Okino also could be temporarily banned from joining the party.

Two caucuses within the Democratic Party called for Okino's expulsion after he sent e-mails in August endorsing some Republican candidates.

Okino had sent out a list of endorsements to counter recommendations of the party's Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Caucus. Okino endorsed Democrats and Republicans based on whether they were against abortion and civil unions, urging people to vote based on religion.

Okino, a two-term councilman barred by term limits from running again, said he did not regret his actions.

"Absolutely, no," he said when asked Monday. "I just was looking for the best candidates for each office."

CORRECTION: City Councilman Gary Okino resigned from the Democratic Party on Oct. 6. An incorrect date was given in a previous version of this article.

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