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Aiona holding community meetings to boost campaign

With the Democratic gubernatorial candidates sucking up media and voter attention, Republican Lt. Gov. James “Duke” Aiona has announced he will hold 20 campaign meetings in as many communities over the next two months.

Aiona said the sessions, which begin today on Lanai, were not a response to the spirited campaign for the Democratic nod between former U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie and former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann.

Rather, he said he wants to set a tone for his campaign that will continue if he wins in November.

“When I get elected governor, it’s not going to change in regards to my reaching out,” Aiona said at a news conference yesterday. “I want them to know that I am always going to have an open ear.”

The machinations of Democratic candidates, and independent voter surveys that show Aiona trailing either Democrat in hypothetical matchups, do not matter, he added.
“I have no idea what Mufi Hannemann or Neil Abercrombie is doing, nor do I care. … I know what Duke Aiona has to do,” Aiona said.

“It is my obligation, really, as a leader, to get out there and make sure that people hear my messages, and hear it from me and not from you,” he said, referring to the news media.

Still, the lieutenant governor is enjoying an easy primary campaign against underfunded Honolulu lawyer John Carroll. He has been able to consume relatively little of his war chest while the Democrats spend freely on advertisements.

The biographical TV ads now airing for Aiona are financed by the Republican Governors Association.

The initial four meetings will take place before the Sept. 18 primary election.

The first session is today at Lanai High and Elementary School on Fraser Avenue in Lanai City. There will be sessions on Kauai on Thursday, Maui on Friday and on Sept. 16 in Kapolei.

The remainder are set for later in September and through October. The general election is Nov. 2.

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