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Hawaii News

Kauai Democrats sue to oust GOP candidate

Kauai Democrats have gone to Circuit Court to try to remove a Republican state House candidate from the September primary ballot, arguing that the state GOP should not have been allowed to field the candidate as a replacement after another Republican withdrew just before the filing deadline in late July.

The state Office of Elections gave Republicans three days as allowed by law to replace David Hamman, a Princeville locksmith who deliberately filed and withdrew from the House District 14 race in Hanalei before the filing deadline to give Republicans more time to find a candidate to challenge Rep. Hermina Morita, a Democrat.

Harry Williams, a Kapaa contractor, subsequently filed as a Republican candidate. Hamman then filed to run for the open state Senate seat vacated by former Majority Leader Gary Hooser (D, Kauai-Niihau), who resigned to campaign for lieutenant governor.

Kauai Democrats allege Hamman’s nomination papers were incomplete, so he was never a qualified candidate and could not withdraw and create a vacancy for Williams. Their lawsuit alleges Hamman did not sign a certification as a partisan candidate or a party loyalty oath.

A Circuit Court hearing on the challenge is scheduled for this afternoon.

If Williams is removed from the ballot, there would be no Republican in the primary and Morita would be unopposed in the November general election.

"The gist of it is pretty silly," said Dylan Nonaka, executive director of the state GOP.

Nonaka said that even if Hamman’s paperwork were incomplete, it was an error by the elections clerk who accepted the filing.

A Circuit Court judge on Oahu ruled earlier this month that a Republican state Senate candidate could stay on the primary ballot even though he did not file the required signatures from district voters to run for office. An elections clerk had accepted the filing. The judge found that the Office of Elections did not present enough evidence to prove the signatures were invalid.

Hamman said Kauai Democrats and Morita do not want competition.

Williams said: "I think they are digging pretty deep. I don’t see why they want to deny people a choice."

Morita said Republicans should not have been allowed to find a replacement candidate for a vacancy she thinks never existed.


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