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Final results released in Hawaii Republican caucus

By Star-Advertiser staff

and Associated Press

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 09:04 a.m. HST, Mar 14, 2012


Mitt Romney won Hawaii's first-ever Republican presidential caucus Tuesday, taking 45 percent of the vote with a strong showing on Oahu's North Shore.

The former Massachusetts governor handily beat former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, who had 25 percent, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, with 18 percent, and former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich, 11 percent. The four were competing for 17 of the state's 20 delegates to the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla.

With all 45 precincts reporting, Romney had 4,250 votes, Santorum 2,369, Paul 1,712 and Gingrich 1.034.

The Associated Press reported that Romney was awarded nine delegates, Santorum four and Paul one, with three delegates to be decided.

Romney, a Mormon, was expected to perform well on the North Shore, home to Brigham Young University-Hawaii and the Laie Temple. Early returns suggested the caucus might be a close clash between Romney and Santorum, but the North Shore districts made the result a decisive one for Romney.

Delegates will be awarded to the presidential candidates proportionally based on the caucus vote. More than 9,000 ballots were cast.

Hawaii Republicans used to allocate delegates to presidential candidates at state party conventions, but converted to the caucuses to help build the party. Filling out a party registration form is a requirement before casting a ballot. 

The possibility of winning some or all of Hawaii's delegates has drawn rare attention from the GOP presidential candidates, who also competed today in Alabama and Mississippi primaries and in American Samoa's caucus.

Romney won the Republican caucus in American Samoa tonight, picking up all nine delegates.

About 70 Republicans in the U.S. territory located 2,300 miles south of Hawaii met at Toa Bar & Grill to discuss the candidates and select delegates for the Republican National Convention in August. At the end, the six delegates chosen and the three superdelegates who will accompany them to the convention all said they would support Romney.

"I believe Romney can fix the U.S. economy that extends to American Samoa. He can turn this country around," said Falemao M. Pili, vice chairman of the local GOP and a delegate.

"I think it's a wonderful way to spread the Republican message of smaller government and responsible government," said Frederick "Fritz" Rohlfing, the chairman of the Romney campaign in Hawaii. "So, as far as I'm concerned, it's a success no matter what the outcome is."

Warner Kimo Sutton, a Hawaii volunteer for the Santorum campaign, said he was hopeful that the former Pennsylvania senator would add to primary victories on Tuesday in Alabama and Mississippi.

"While we're very, very hopeful to make it a sweep today, we're waiting for all the results to come in before we celebrate," he said.

Many voters said they were driven by a desire for change to a federal government they believe spends too much money.

"I came out because I'm not satisfied with what's going on with our government today," said Larry Lusk, a property manager who lives in Kaneohe. "We should be saving money and we're not. We're spending money all over the place.

Lusk said he was not motivated to vote by any one candidate, but thinks conservatives have something to offer this year.

"We need to tighten our belts. I've tightened my belt. Most of my friends have tightened their belts," he said. "Our government just doesn't seem to get the hint."

Several voters said they realize Hawaii is Democratic territory. Hawaii-born President Barack Obama is expected to capture the state's four electoral votes in November. But the caucuses gave island Republicans an opportunity to have a direct say in selecting the GOP nominee for the first time, so many saw value in participating.

"It's always good for everyone to be able to have their voice, do what they think is right" said David Parker, a carpenter who lives in Enchanted Lake.

Only registered Republicans could vote in the caucus, and that's why so few attended. It's rare in American Samoa for anyone to officially register as a Republican or Democrat because local elected officials don't run on party lines.

Santorum topped Gingrich and Romney in Alabama and Mississippi with Paul coming in a distant fourth place.

Romney is the front-runner in the delegate count, followed by Santorum and Gingrich.

Although none of the candidates have made a campaign stop in Hawaii, Ronnie Paul, Elizabeth Santorum and Matt Romney crossed the Pacific to rally support for their fathers heading into tonight's caucus. Newt Gingrich, who spoke to the Maui Tea Party in September, kept his attention on Alabama and Mississippi primaries.

"It's very exciting," state GOP?chairman David Chang said Monday. "The three campaigns are generating a lot of buzz from voters who might not otherwise have known much about the candidates." 

He pointed out that the Paul campaign bought local TV ad time and Santorum paid for a robo-call, both of which are rare investments in national GOP races. 

Hawaii voters tend to support Democratic presidential candidates, and as the birthplace of Democratic President Barack Obama, that isn't likely to change in November. The heightened activity reflects how tight the GOP race is.

--

Hawaii
45 precincts - 100 percent reporting
 
Mitt Romney       4,250    45.4%   
Rick Santorum    2,369    25.3%   
Ron Paul             1,712    18.3%   
Newt Gingrich      1,034       11%







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Changalang wrote:
The picture says it all. For entertainment, there will be a dust f@rting contest and a competition to see who can peel an orange without their dentures in. Nobody wants to miss that. :)
on March 13,2012 | 07:28PM
Beaglebagels wrote:
You are right on and very funny!
on March 13,2012 | 07:51PM
LanaUlulani wrote:


In other words mocking and ridiculing elderly people is alive and well.


on March 14,2012 | 10:44AM
richw66 wrote:
I don't know who came up with the bright idea of a caucus from 6-8pm but they need to rethink that idea.....I go to bed at 7pm so I'm certainly not going to wait in a caucus line to vote. If you want a caucus move to Iowa.
on March 13,2012 | 07:46PM
Smiling wrote:
Look at the ages in the picture...wow.....
on March 13,2012 | 07:49PM
Venus1 wrote:
How about diversity????
on March 13,2012 | 09:37PM
IAmSane wrote:
I think I spot one Asian lady in there...
on March 13,2012 | 10:02PM
droid wrote:
The results reflect that diversity. For better or for worse, Romney is the choice of the older generation’s “electability over principle” attitudes.
on March 13,2012 | 10:09PM
kuroiwaj wrote:
Hey, we just returned from Laie Elem School attending the Republican caucus to cast our vote. The press should have the picture from there. Plenty of young people mixed with all the interested voters. The line went around a building. It was a very pleasent experience for the first time caucus. Thanks to the Hawaii Republican Party.
on March 13,2012 | 08:11PM
Venus1 wrote:
Mormon territory!!
on March 13,2012 | 09:36PM
kailuabred wrote:
Wake up there, buddy. Do you think the "elders" of the church even allow them to vote for somebody other than Mittens?
on March 14,2012 | 04:08AM
Anonymous wrote:
Mitt Romney has downplayed his Mormon faith while running on the mainland because, frankly, some Mormon beliefs are very unusual for Christians (whether Catholics or Protestants) to understand and Romney is appealing to conservative Christians. Here in Hawaii Mormons block vote for him. How would that play if word spread on the mainland?
on March 14,2012 | 09:30AM
walaau808 wrote:
You obviously aren't Mormon and have no idea what the church has said regarding elections. Maybe come to a meeting so you can find out? We all have the God given right to choose, and I'm not choosing Romney...I'm a Democrat!
on March 14,2012 | 09:51AM
Highinthesierras wrote:
As Samoa goes, so goes America.
on March 13,2012 | 08:37PM
AniMatsuri wrote:
Looks like Santorum is making a good showing considering most of the establishment repubs are backing Romney.
on March 13,2012 | 10:06PM
wenshang wrote:
Changalang, I was at Makiki Park tonight and saw the voters for the caucus there. I was surprised at how many people there were and how diverse the group was. I understand the concept of fiscal conservatism, but could not figure out what would cause so many people to vote for one of these particular candidates, given the extreme tone of the Republican primaries.
on March 13,2012 | 11:12PM
kuewa wrote:
So, less than 10K votes decided the election. Big deal !
on March 14,2012 | 12:54AM
kailuabred wrote:
That's all the republicans there are in Hawai'i! LOL
on March 14,2012 | 04:07AM
LanaUlulani wrote:


Mahalo to all who showed up to rock the vote! Though I wish Ron Paul won... great turn out!

Notice how some people are mocking and ridiculing elderly people who exercise their right to vote. How PILAU.

Props to all who voted especially the kupuna who voted concerned about the future of their mo'opuna. Mahalo!


on March 14,2012 | 10:47AM
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