Here is the Star-Advertiser’s first look at several potentially competitive state House and Senate campaigns, based on information from political strategists and party insiders. For more, check out Political Radar, our state government and politics blog, at blogs.starbulletin.com/inpolitics/the-rundown.
District 22 (North Shore-Wahiawa)
» Donovan Dela Cruz (D)
» Michael Magaoay (D)
» Michael Lyons (D)
» Gerald Hagino (D)
» Charles Aki (R)
Outlook: Open seat. Democratic. Sen. Robert Bunda resigned to run in the Democratic primary for lieutenant governor. The last-minute decision by Dela Cruz to bolt the mayor’s race sets up one of the most intriguing primaries. Dela Cruz represented the district on the City Council. Magaoay represented much of the district in the House. Lyons is chairman of the North Shore Neighborhood Board. And Hagino held the seat until he was beaten by Bunda.
District 24 (Kailua-Kaneohe)
» Sen. Jill Tokuda (D)
» Tracy Bean (R)
Outlook: Leans Democratic. Tokuda has earned praise for her work on protecting important agricultural land, native Hawaiian affairs and the University of Hawaii. She also led an investigation into mismanagement at the Bureau of Conveyances and was one of the leading critics who helped block the second confirmation of Peter Young as director at the state Department of Land and Natural Resources. But the district is among the most competitive in the Senate, and Tokuda could be vulnerable in her first re-election campaign, particularly if voters make civil unions a dominant issue. Bean, like Tokuda, was raised on the Windward side. She runs a nonprofit with her husband and is part of a network of religious conservatives who oppose civil unions.
District 25 (Kailua-Waimanalo-Hawaii Kai)
» Virginia Enos (R)
» Joe Pandolfe (R)
» Andrew Jamila Jr. (D)
» Chuck Prentiss (D)
» Pohai Ryan (D)
Outlook: Open seat. Leans Republican. Senate Minority Leader Fred Hemmings opted not to seek re-election. There is no obvious Republican heir, but the GOP likes Enos, a member of the Kailua Neighborhood Board. Pandolfe, a contractor active in the tea party movement, could provide a measurement of how strongly the tea party tracks among local conservatives.
District 6 (N. Kona-Keauhou-Kailua-Kona)
» Rep. Denny Coffman (D)
» Becky Leau (R)
Outlook: Leans Democratic. Coffman was among the freshmen who crafted a barrel tax increase on petroleum products to help finance food security and alternative energy programs. The district is friendly to Republicans and could be hard for Coffman to hold if the GOP runs strong in Kona in the governor’s race. Leau, a contractor, is active with religious conservatives and might get support from the local tea party.
District 11 (Makena-Wailea-Kihei)
» Rep. Joe Bertram III (D)
» Johanna Amorin (D)
» Netra Halperin (D)
» George Fontaine (R)
Outlook: Tossup. Bertram was thought to be the most endangered House incumbent in 2008, when he raised little money for his first re-election campaign and alienated House leadership by publicly stating he would not vote for House Speaker Calvin Say for speaker if he won. He has since been criticized for defending a friend on trial for alleged Internet enticement of a minor and has declared bankruptcy for the second time because of medical expenses and tax debts. His signature issues have been expanding access to medical marijuana and promoting bike paths and greenways. Fontaine, a retired police captain, was one of the Republicans’ best prospects two years ago.
District 18 (Kuliouou-Niu Valley-Aina Haina)
» Mark Jun Hashem (D)
» T.J. Lane (D)
» Albert Lee (D)
» Chris Pei-Ji Baron (R)
Outlook: Open seat. Tossup. Rep. Lyla Berg is leaving to run in the Democratic primary for lieutenant governor. Baron, a state clean-energy planner who worked for the Department of Homeland Security, the State Department and the National Security Council during the Bush administration, grew up in the Republican-friendly district. He also has Hawaii Christian Coalition backing. Lane, a lawyer, might be the Democrats’ choice.
District 33 (Aiea-Halawa Valley-Aiea Heights)
» House Majority Leader Blake Oshiro (D)
» Gary Okino (D)
» Sam Kong (R)
Oshiro, a lawyer, has emerged as the policy force within Speaker Say’s leadership team and is often the shepherd for the outsize majority caucus. He was also the sponsor of a civil unions bill and brought it to the House floor on the last day of session for a dramatic vote. Oshiro, who is gay, is facing a serious primary challenge from Okino, a Honolulu city councilman and former city planner who is a fiscal and religious conservative. Last year, during the civil-unions debate in the House, Okino warned lawmakers of the serious consequences of not following God’s word and said there are medical dangers associated with the homosexual lifestyle.
District 46 (Schofield-Mokuleia-North Shore)
» Tammy Ann Escorzon (D)
» Maria Pacheco (D)
» Larry Sagaysay (D)
» Gil Riviere (R)
Outlook: Open seat. Leans Republican. Rep. Michael Magaoay is leaving to run in the Democratic primary for the state Senate. Riviere, a mortgage broker and leader of Keep the North Shore Country, could take a district that has been slowly trending Republican.
District 47 (Laie-Hauula-Punaluu)
» Rep. Jessica Wooley (D)
» Richard Fale (R)
Outlook: Leans Democratic. Wooley, a lawyer, is a progressive who is active on issues such as food and energy security. She has also been an advocate for Hawaiian families who were facing eviction from Kahana Valley State Park. She is in her first re-election campaign after defeating Colleen Meyer, the most conservative Republican in the House, two years ago. Her opponent, Richard Fale, is in the Army Reserve and operates a nonprofit dedicated to the preservation of Polynesian culture. He also farms. Fale is a Mormon who could draw votes from Laie and other pre-cincts that reliably went with the conservative Meyer in the past.