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Republican Party girds for November elections

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Republican leaders this morning pegged their hopes for a political comeback on the fortunes of Vice President George Bush, saying that if he wins, the local GOP will be on the road back.

At a breakfast unity rally at the Pacific Club, about 50 Republican candidates and officials took turns giving each other pep talks.

The Republicans admit they don’t have a lot to get excited about as they are outnumbered across the board in state and local government offices.

"The message I want to get out is that if this state will go for Bush, then we have a chance to make a statement," said GOP Chairman Howard Chong.

Although the state’s two top Republican office holders: Mayor Frank Fasi and U.S. Rep. Pat Saiki face tough challenges, Chong said the two have strong political organizations and will not need help from the party.

"Pat is well taken care of and the mayor has a good track record," Chong said.

For her part Saiki this morning recalled how the late Gov. John A. Burns, the founder of the modern Democratic Party, told her it was important for Hawaii to have a two-party system and he promised to help her.

"I want you to work as hard as you can to build your party," Saiki said Burns told her.

Republican Senate Leader Mary George also seized on the Democrats helping Republicans theme this morning, reminding the crowd that Gov. John Waihee also said he believed in a strong two-party system.

Waihee, however, didn’t sound like he was ready to take out a GOP party card yesterday at a rally and he was talking only about Democratic victories in November.

"It’s always good to be a Democrat, but in Hawaii it’s especially nice," Waihee said at a unity brunch … at the Pagoda Hotel yesterday.


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