comscore Political insider amiably helped Democratic clients | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
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Political insider amiably helped Democratic clients

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS / AUGUST 2002
    Kam Kuwata, a longtime adviser to California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, also used his political expertise to help Hawaii Sen. Daniel Akaka.
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LOS ANGELES >> Veteran Democratic consultant Kam Kuwata, a longtime adviser to California Sen. Dianne Feinstein known for his political savvy and sly wit, was found dead April 11 at his home in Los Angeles’ Venice neighborhood. He was 57.

The death appeared to be from natural causes and the Los Angeles County coroner is not investigating, said agency spokesman Craig Harvey.

Kuwata’s list of clients ranged from former Los Angeles Mayor James Hahn to Hawaii Democratic Sen. Daniel Akaka to former California Rep. Jane Harman.

Kuwata was a consummate political insider, and his influence was felt in many state Democratic campaigns for a quarter century. He maintained an amiable demeanor and ready smile in an age when political campaigning is often viewed as little more than name-calling and smear jobs.

President Barack Obama said he was saddened to learn of Kuwata’s passing.

“Kam’s brilliance as a political strategist was matched by his passion for our country and the process by which we govern ourselves,” Obama said in a statement.

Gov. Jerry Brown said in a statement that Kuwata’s “analytical skills, coupled with his gentle approach to a tough business, earned him the respect and friendship of his allies and opponents alike.”

In Sacramento, Speaker John A. Perez adjourned the Assembly to commemorate the memory of his friend.

Feinstein said she was shocked to learn of the loss of her friend and adviser of more than two decades.

“He was respected by people in politics and journalism, something I always thought spoke volumes about the kind of person he was,” Feinstein said in a statement.

In 2008, Kuwata helped the Obama campaign run the Democratic National Convention in Denver.

On the job, he was a determined salesman and handy with political spin. In an Associated Press interview in 2005, Kuwata argued that Hahn’s famously withdrawn personality was an asset. “Would people rather have someone who gets results or TV time?” Kuwata asked at the time.

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