comscore Aiona, Abercrombie vie for Hannemann voters
Editorial | On Politics

Aiona, Abercrombie vie for Hannemann voters

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In the governor’s race, the general election day math is simple. To win, either Democrat Neil Abercrombie or Republican Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona must get the majority of Mufi Hannemann’s voters.

Wooing those 90,535 voters is not as simple as holding an open house and hollering "E komo mai."

Although Hannemann and Aiona are far from being soul mates, even Aiona acknowledges that he and Hannemann share similar views on social issues such as House Bill 444 on civil unions and same-sex marriage.

Aiona reports that his campaign was "flooded with Hannemann supporters saying they would support our campaign."

Aiona gives two reasons for Hannemann voters ready to switch: first, "the heat of the battle" argument that they would support anyone but Abercrombie and second, "I am more compatible with Mufi than with Neil."

Those 90,000 Hannemann Democrats will be key. If you figure the total registered vote at 685,000 and estimate the turnout to be around 57 percent, the same as it was in the heated 2002 race for governor, then you need more than 195,000 votes to win.

If Abercrombie holds all his voters and takes all of Hannemann’s supporters, he gets 232,000 votes and would win with 57 percent of the vote. But if the Hannemann vote splits then Abercrombie needs to hustle.

That, he says, is exactly what he has been doing.

"I met with the entire political state action committee of the HGEA. We had an extraordinarily candid and productive meeting," Abercrombie says, adding that he also went to talk to the other union leaders that endorsed Hannemann.

"I told them, hell, I’m already married, you don’t have to love me, you don’t even have to like me.

"What you have to think about is what is good for your membership, what is good for your family and what is good for your constituencies," Abercrombie said.

Calling himself an "adult politician," Abercrombie says he recognizes that voters vote for their own reasons, and today he has to show that Hannemann’s defeat "wasn’t some sort of triumph over you (the voters) and now you have to get in line."

"What I have to do is make sure that you feel comfortable, so I reached out to them. I didn’t sit in this office and have people troop through — I went to them because I want their support," Abercrombie said.

Abercrombie contends that Hannemann will help with the campaign and that conversations have already been held and there has been no demands for Hannemann slots in an Abercrombie administration.

There are rumors, however, that Hannemann is mulling a return to City Hall as a councilman in the district being vacated by Todd Apo, so this year there is even more reason for all the Democrats to play nice.

Richard Borreca writes on politics on Sundays, Tuesdays and Fridays. Reach him at


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