The Democratic Party of Hawaii wants to disqualify three candidates for the state Legislature in the primary election because they do not meet standards for running for political office under the party’s banner.
The candidates — two for the House and one for the Senate — joined the party shortly before the candidate filing deadline in late July. The party requires candidates be Democrats in good standing for a minimum of 60 days before filing for political office.
Party Chairman Dante Carpenter believes the state Office of Elections is obliged to challenge the candidates in Circuit Court. Under state law, if the candidates are disqualified, proclamations would be posted at polling places to inform voters since ballots for the primary have being printed.
Scott Nago, the chief election officer, believes Carpenter and the party should go to court to disqualify the candidates since the party, not the state, determines who is a Democrat.
Candidates in question are Daniel Davidson in Senate District 9 in Kaimuki, Kaleo Farias in House District 44 in Nanakuli and Jason Pascua in House District 48 in Kaneohe. If Davidson is disqualified, Sen. Les Ihara would be unopposed in the primary. If Pascua is disqualified, Rep. Ken Ito would be unopposed.
Davidson said he was not too unhappy with the party’s disqualification request and understands that the party has rules.
Pascua said he and his family are lifelong and loyal Democrats. "I still can’t believe that my own party is doing their best to disqualify me to run for office," he said in an e-mail. "This is absolutely wrong."
Ihara said he believes the party should enforce its rules but also wants to see competitive primaries. "I would prefer to have a campaign," he said. "I favor competition."
Farias could not be reached for comment. He is one of four Democrats in the House primary. The others are incumbent Karen Awana, and John Kaopua and Cynthia Rezentes.