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4 Democratic candidates square off in 2nd Congressional District debate

By Gordon Y.K. Pang


The four major candidates in the Democratic primary for the 2nd Congressional District exchanged barbs during a feisty 90-minute debate tonight that touched on issues ranging from their views on same-sex marriage to their ranges of political experiences.

At the end of the debate, all four candidates said they thought they were able to convince voters of rural Oahu and neighbor island voters they should be chosen on primary election day, Aug. 11.

City Councilwoman Tulsi Gabbard said she was able to show that her experiences both as a war veteran and legislator puts her in the best position to serve Hawaii’s 2nd Congressional District.

Esther Kia‘aina, veteran congressional aide and Office of Hawaiian Affairs political advocate, said she believed she was able to articulate that it’s her years in the halls of Capitol Hill makes her most able to hit the ground running in Washington.

Former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann said he was able to separate himself from the pack by reinforcing for voters his record as a former mayor, City Council member and official in both the state and federal levels. 

Hilo attorney Bob Marx said he won points by showing that he has more knowledge of financial issues than the other candidates as both a former member of the Oregon legislature and a negotiator in legal matters. 

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bully106 wrote:
debate was well run but the questions asked were subpar. why focus on social issues when the real issues focus on the economy and jobs. voters don't care anymore about the candidates views on same sex marriage and abortion. we don't need to be told over and over again that gabbard is a war veteran, that hanneman managed a whole city, and kia aina rubbed shoulders with the washington high muck a mucks. we need to know what they are going to do in congress to move the country forward and what they can bring to the people of hawaii.
on July 12,2012 | 11:54PM
LanaAloha wrote:
I agree. Social issues aren't the main problem. I thought he debate moderators were trying to incite a dead conflict already.
on July 13,2012 | 05:56AM
kainalu wrote:
I agree also. What for me was a display of 4 candidates that are informed and qualify. But guns, god and gays do not drive my vote. I would have like to seen more focus on the business of running the government, not the business of running people's lives.
on July 13,2012 | 07:24AM
LanaAloha wrote:
I'm supporting Tulsi Gabbard. She has been fighting to protect our aina for years. I saw her on the news cleaning up the beaches that were literally covered with medical waste and garbage by the flooding of the dump Mufi didn't want to close. She is not like Mufi who claims he's an environmentalist but does exactly the opposite. She is out there LIVING IT. She truly cares. I'm so tired of slick politicians who don't stand behind their word.
on July 13,2012 | 04:29AM
sailaway wrote:
Grrrr, every time I read Mufi tout his experience as a former Mayor as reason to believe he'll be effective in Congress, I just can't get past it. Mufi's record as a former Mayor is a record of giving orders and not listening to others. Even Colleen Hanabusa, who I have never heard criticize anyone, by the way, said that no matter what anyone says, Mufi has always had a "my way or the highway" working style. Actually, I have heard a handful of elected officials call Mufi a bully. The fact is, his experience as a Mayor with a dictorial approach is not experience that will make him effective in Congress. To be an effective legislator, you need to be able to listen, be respectful because you have to build consensus with the other 400 something legislators. Mufi may have been Mayor, but he simply does not have the qualities needed to be an effective representative in a legislative body like Congress.
on July 13,2012 | 04:33AM
Maui_Boy wrote:
I'm not typically a debate watcher, but it turned into a family event. It's hard to cover every topic when members of congress deal with such a wide range of issues. Nonethess, the forum gave viewers the opportunity to see how the candidates handle themselves under pressure. At the end of the night, my family felt Tulsi handled herself the best. She is knowledgeable, combat-tested, and in politics for the right reasons. We know Mufi and we actually found it humorous seeing him trying so hard to exude "aloha" when in fact he is a vindictive bully who cares about no one but Mufi. Anyone who knows Mufi had to have been creeped by his disengenuous sweet local boy performance. Hopefully this defeat will bring to an end Mufi's 25-year quest for a seat in Congress. We'll be voting for Tulsi!
on July 13,2012 | 05:08AM
Jsato wrote:
I was definitely creeped by the kind 'ol Uncle Mufi routine. I think his plan is to act nice and then send his attack dogs like Keith Rolllman under cover.
on July 13,2012 | 05:27AM
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