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RNC invests in Hawaii Republicans

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  • 2010 August 18 CTY Press conference with Lt. Governor Duke Aiona. SA photo by Craig T. Kojima

Pat Saiki, the chairwoman of the Hawaii Republican Party, told party leaders on Saturday that the Republican National Committee has invested in the islands to help Republican candidates win in November.

In a memo, Saiki said the national money would be used to hire local residents as field representatives and to assist the party’s "ground game" of voter outreach.

"This means that our national counterpart understands the unique opportunity we have to put a Republican back in Washington Place, to send Republicans to Washington, D.C., from Hawaii, and to increase Republican numbers in the state Legislature," Saiki wrote. 

Former Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona, the Republican candidate for governor, has led in public-opinion polls in a three-way race against state Sen. David Ige, a Democrat, and former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann, an independent. Former congressman Charles Djou, a Republican, is trying to reclaim the urban Honolulu seat in Congress against state Rep. K. Mark Takai, a Democrat.

The Republican Governors Association is expected to provide independent financial help to the Aiona campaign.

Party officials would not disclose how much the RNC has directed to the islands, but the figure will be available in future campaign finance reports. Some Republicans have been critical about diverting national money to Hawaii, a state historically dominated by Democrats, when it could likely be put to better use in states where Republicans have the opportunity to pick up seats and take control of the U.S. Senate or expand their majority in the U.S. House.

National Democrats, too, would prefer not to have to spend much money defending Democratic candidates in Hawaii, since money is needed in battleground states. The Democratic Governors Association has conducted research in Hawaii this year and could step in to help Ige, who has struggled with fundraising.

The national parties routinely help local parties by providing money for staff and voter identification efforts, but local investments can increase during election years.

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