Citing a lack of money to run a viable mayoral campaign, Donovan Dela Cruz opted yesterday to instead run for a vacant state Senate seat on Oahu’s North Shore, the area he has represented for the past eight years on the City Council.
"Unfortunately, like many people who have fallen on economic hardships, my campaign for mayor has also felt the financial pinch," Dela Cruz said in an e-mail yesterday to supporters. "Looking at this mayoral race realistically, and being honest with myself and all of you, I have decided to take a different path."
Dela Cruz is running in the special election to fill the final two years of the term of Bobby Bunda, who resigned this month to run for lieutenant governor.
The Kaena-Wahiawa-Pupukea state Senate vacancy is among four special elections being decided this fall. The filing deadline for candidates in those races is 4:30 p.m. today. Other races are for the Niihau-Kauai Senate district, Honolulu mayor and city prosecutor.
Also running for Bunda’s 22nd District seat in the Sept. 18 Democratic primary are House Vice Speaker Michael Magaoay, North Shore Neighborhood Board Chairman Michael Lyons and Gerald Hagino, a former state senator. Charles Aki was the only Republican who had filed as of yesterday.
Magaoay said he was surprised by the move, noting Dela Cruz previously announced he would run for lieutenant governor before switching to the mayor’s race and now the state Senate.
"It’s a surprise, but for me I just have to work harder and keep on going," Magaoay said.
Because Bunda and former Senate Majority Leader Gary Hooser resigned just days before the July 20 candidate filing deadline, the Elections Office extended the filing period for their offices until today.
Hooser, who is running for lieutenant governor, also had two years remaining on his term representing the Senate’s 7th District. Six candidates had filed papers seeking his seat as of yesterday.
Dela Cruz’s switch leaves four main mayoral candidates: acting Mayor Kirk Caldwell, former city Prosecutor Peter Carlisle, University of Hawaii engineering professor Panos Prevedouros and City Councilman Rod Tam. All have filed nomination papers.
Carlisle also had to resign to run, vacating the final two years of his term. Candidates seeking the vacancy include former state Labor Director Darwin Ching, Deputy Prosecutor Franklin "Don" Pacarro and former Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro.
The winner-take-all elections for mayor and prosecutor will be held in conjunction with the September primary.