The Democratic Party has decided to allow Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s primary challenger time to speak at the state convention in May.
On Tuesday, Abercrombie told the Democratic Party of Hawaii that he would be willing to yield some of his time at the state convention in May so other candidates for governor could address the delegates.
In a letter to Dante Carpenter, the party’s chairman, the governor said it was “in the finest traditions of our party” to allow equal opportunity for others to speak.
By yielding some of his time, the governor said, “I hope that convention delegates will able to hear the many diverse voices of the Democratic Party.”
State Sen. David Ige, who is challenging Abercrombie in the primary, welcomed the governor’s move. “I am pleased that the governor agreed with my call for fairness and that all statewide Democratic candidates be given the opportunity to speak from the floor of the state Democratic convention and not break from traditions of previous years,” he said in a statement.
Ige had complained last week that he was being denied an opportunity to address delegates from the convention podium. Ige asked the party too allow all candidates in major races to speak.
Honolulu City Councilman Ikaika Anderson, who is running for Congress, joined in Ige’s request over the weekend.
Eight elected officials — including Abercrombie — have each been given five-minute slots to discuss progress toward the party’s platform at the convention at the Sheraton Waikiki. Candidates have been given a separate opportunity to appear at a meet-and-greet at the Royal Hawaiian.
Party leaders met early this evening to consider Ige’s request and a decision was made to allow him five minutes for updates on the party platform.