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Trump wins Hawaii GOP caucus to cap huge night

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A queue of voters waited to register for the Hawaii Republican Party presidential caucus at Kaiser High School on Tuesday.

Billionaire businessman Donald Trump won the Hawaii GOP caucus Tuesday night to cap another strong night for the leader of the Republican presidential nomination race.

With all of Hawaii’s precincts reporting, Trump had 42 percent, followed by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz at 33 percent, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, 13 percent, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, nearly 11 percent.

Trump quickly tweeted, “Thank you, Hawaii” after the major TV networks and the Associated Press projected him as the winner.

Victory in Hawaii capped off a strong showing for Trump, who also won in Michigan and Mississippi. Cruz won in Idaho.

Hawaii’s results came later than expected due to a huge turnout among Republicans despite rain and powerful winds throughout the islands.

Voting began at 6 p.m. and was scheduled to last two hours at 44 locations statewide. But GOP Hawaii tweeted out shortly after the scheduled close that voters still in line at 8 p.m. would be allowed to vote.

Andrew Walden, chairman of the Hawaii Republican caucus committee, said the strong voter turnout across the state would delay the end of voting. “There are lines everywhere, and everybody who’s in line gets to vote, and that might take quite a while in a few places,” Walden told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

Long lines at several caucus sites on Oahu indicated that Hawaii GOP leaders’ hopes for a big turnout were realized, although it fell short of the 20,000 voters that they had predicted. In all, more than 13,300 ballots were cast, according to the final tally.

State Rep. Gene Ward, (R, Kalama Valley, Queen’s Gate, Hawaii Kai), looked out over the lines in the Kaiser High School cafeteria that persisted beyond the 8 p.m. closing time and said, “They just keep coming and coming. This is impressive.”

The last Republican caucus generated 300 votes out of Kaiser, and Ward predicted twice as many ballots would be cast Tuesday night, in part because of the excitement generated by Trump.

Before the voting began, Colin Moore, director of the Public Policy Center at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, said he expected a strong turnout tonight.

“All of the Republican leadership, the most well-known Republicans — from Charles Djou to Pat Saiki to Duke Aiona — they’re all supporting candidates who aren’t Trump, and they are not subtle about it,” Moore said. However, Trump “does still seem to have this support.”

Church groups have at times swamped the Hawaii GOP presidential caucuses to win solid local victories for candidates such as Pat Robertson and Mitt Romney, but Cruz, who has appealed to evangelical Christians, failed to ride that support to a win in the islands.

Former Lt. Gov. James “Duke” Aiona, who is known for his ties to local church organizations, this week endorsed Rubio instead of Cruz. Aiona said he likes Rubio’s youth and prefers his vision in foreign policy and social issues to those of Cruz.

Neither Aiona nor Moore said they saw evidence of an organized effort to flood the caucuses with churchgoers. Aiona said he believes the churches are divided between Cruz and Rubio.

Still to be decided is exactly how Hawaii’s 19 Republican delegates will be divided up among the candidates, but Trump is sure to get the most.

The New York Times calculated that by late Tuesday night, Trump had secured 446 delegates, while Cruz had 347. Rubio had 151 and Kasich 54. A candidate needs 1,237 delegates to secure the Republican nomination.

Moore said Trump has a special interest in the Hawaii race because the national primary to this point has prominently featured accusations about the New York businessman’s alleged racism.

Hawaii is the most racially diverse state in the nation, and “if he could win Hawaii, that would be a very important symbolic victory for him. He can say ‘I’ve won the most diverse state in the nation.’ ”

Other observers say Rubio took the rare step of investing money in television advertising for a Hawaii Republican caucus because he urgently needed a strong showing here. But the Florida senator finished a distant third.

Also receiving less than 1 percent each were former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and retired surgeon Dr. Ben Carson, both of whom remained on the ballot despite dropping out of the race this month.

Tuesday night’s voting was open only to Hawaii GOP party members, but participants were allowed to sign party cards on the spot and then join in the balloting.

Hawaii Democrats will caucus on March 26.


Star-Advertiser reporter Dan Nakaso contributed to this report.

49 responses to “Trump wins Hawaii GOP caucus to cap huge night”

  1. Jonathan_Patrick says:

    Who cares as Hawaii has only a few delegates.

    • kuroiwaj says:

      Jona, if it gets to a brokered convention with no one with the 50% +1, Hawaii could become a major player with its 19 delegates.

      • droid says:

        Exactly, right, kuroiwaj! If there were any presidential race in U.S. history where every delegate counts, it’s this one.

        Obviously, Jonathan_Patrick failed Math 101. There are 1,588 delegates remaining to be had. If Trump gets 800, and Cruz, Rubio and Kasich garner a combined total of 788, nobody wins! NO ONE will have achieved the 1,237 delegates REQUIRED to win the nomination. So yes, DUH, every single one of those precious 19 Hawai‘i delegates counts.

        • BluesBreaker says:

          Only until the first ballot. After that, all delegates are free to vote however they want.

        • mitt_grund says:

          Question is which of the three would be able to prevail after the first ballot fails to garner the majority vote. Whose people will waiver, Trump, Cruz, or Rubio. Or will there be a compromise made?

          Can’t imagine what kind of compromise could come out of this. Trump names Cruz as VP? He’d have to watch his back 24/7 as Cruz has shown himself to be a total back-stabber. Cruz needs only a hop, skip and jump to become a John Wilkes Booth wannabe. The man is totally into himself.

        • allie says:

          agree…but in the General Election., we vote for Hillary.

        • Hawaii001 says:

          If any of the GOP candidates can’t get to 1237 delegates on the first ballot, they should forfeit the presidential race. LOL!

          I know, I know… it doesn’t work like that…

      • Meleana22 says:

        @Kuroiwaj… Thank you for being informed and sharing that info with those who are not.

    • FARKWARD says:

      Well “J_P”, you will be happy to know that things are about to “change dramatically” for “Hillary” as it is alleged that she has been consulting lately with Chaz Bono and Caitlyn Jenner… (..poor “allie”..; all that confusion..)

  2. Maipono says:

    It looks like unless there is a break through, the GOP is heading towards a brokered convention. So much more suspense and interest in the GOP than the corrupt Democrat Party. I take that back, what will the Dems do if their party nominee is indicted while campaigning for the presidency?

    • FarmerDave says:

      Fyi it’s Trump that has to appear in court and may be indicted for fraud while campaigning. But that doesn’t matter after all he can ” go out on 5th avenue, shoot somebody and still get votes.”

      • castle001 says:

        What a ridiculous thing to say. That would be more appropriate for Hillary.

        • marcus says:

          Remember when Hillary said there were bullets flying over their heads when they got off the plane in Bosnia?

        • BluesBreaker says:

          Except that Trump actually said it.

        • FarmerDave says:

          ” go out on 5th avenue, shoot somebody and still get votes.” Yes agree that is a ridiculous thing to say. But “I like the poorly educated” too.

        • csdhawaii says:

          Eh? FarmerDave speaks the truth. Trump may end up having to defend himself in two separate cases in federal fraud cases during the general election; and Trump himself said he could shoot somebody on 5th avenue and still not lose voters.

      • GorillaSmith says:

        Man, try not to spill any kool aid on your bib.

  3. butinski says:

    From the photo, looks like only a few balding oldsters among the sparse standing room folks.

  4. Tempmanoa says:

    It may be close, but it sure looks like Trump will go into the convention with the required majority of the delegates. Good thing because Trump supporters– blue collar, renegade democrats, and independents– couldn’t get into the suck up Republican convention.

  5. seaborn says:

    Which GOP candidate to choose? The one who calls the other candidates liars the most, or the candidate that is called a liar the least? Either way, it’s a pitiful bunch, none of which has acted “Presidential.”

    • FarmerDave says:

      Wait a minute, the candidate that claims to have “no problem down there” seems presidential to me. I always choose the candidate that claims to be well endowed 😉

  6. hilo says:

    Trump is the ‘outsider’, and we need an ‘outsider to fix and unite our country. The insiders of both parties fear him, as he is not beholden to anyone except to make ‘America Great Again!’
    Hillary=business as usual and fears change.
    The only way the Republican party can self destruct is not recognizing Trump represents the silent majority who have been patient long enough with the ‘status quo’ and are showing up to vote; similar to the Obama phenomenon 7 years ago.
    I hope Trump prevails.

    • csdhawaii says:

      If Trump really represents the silent majority, we really have sunk as a nation. Two things in politics for me – I will never forgive John McCain for foisting Sarah Palin onto us; and I will never forgive Trump for dragging politics even lower than it used to be, down into the depths of the worst mud puddle in history. Regardless of if Trump wins or loses, the stench of his campaign tactics will live on and, I fear, be emulated in future campaigns by others who think his fear-mongering, insulting, offensive, nasty and a dozen other despicable adjectives methods are the way to get attention and, therefore, publicity and, therefore, votes. The end does NOT justify the means. He is reprehensible.

      • allie says:

        agree. But remember that Bush was the one who, following orders from the Neo-Cons and Saudi Arabia and Israel., invaded Iraq illegally and damaged America so terribly. He also failed to keep us safe on 9-11 by ignoring all the warnings from the CIA.

        • FARKWARD says:

          ..because, “Bubba-Bush” knew Cheney was in the basement–directing NORAD– per “Papa-Bush’s” orders…

        • MoiLee says:

          “Ignoring”? Maybe GW should have ignored the CIA findings of the WMD’s… BTW. It was Congress, along side our HI congressional members and Yes! let’s not forget Hillary Clinton….That gave BUSH the go a head to invade Iraq. Based on intel provided by the ….CIA

        • allie says:

          Bush kept most of the record surrounding 9-11 secret. The transcripts won’t be released for decades. Clearly we do not know the full story.

  7. Kailuadad says:

    Uprising of the ignorant.

    Let’s be real: Trump is a pathological liar. For example: I watched all three of his “interviews” this morning. He stuck to the same script which basically was emphasizing that he built a hotel and employs “thousands of people” at “my hotel”. Yet the “Trump” hotel is only a moniker. Irongate essentially built the hotel and rents the “Trump” brand… But what’s the point in bringing this up? No one wants facts or intellectual discourse…

    • mitt_grund says:

      Shows you how gullible Trump people are. But there are heck of a lot of people who like to lick the shoes of reality stars. Hillary had better watch out, or Trump may lift one of his $1000 shoes and have her lick it.

    • Meleana22 says:

      @Kailuadaa… and you don’t think that Hillary and her husband aren’t pathological liars? You can’t be that uninformed or naive.

  8. Tempmanoa says:

    The populist ideology is back with two populists, Trump and Sanders. Now instead of a focus on big business and the rich, the focus. Is on the bottom half and improving job opportunities, medical care, and education. Big American companies seeking to increase profits with cheap labor will be forced back to the USA– those profits once repatriated will go to jobs and pay increases.

  9. Marauders_1959 says:

    Seems like some wants to end the “Business, as usual” political mentality in Washington.

  10. Mythman says:

    Golly Gee, a white skinned male winning in Hawaii – what happened to the racial agendas of local politicians?

  11. cojef says:

    The Republican and Democratic voters in Hawaii is a microcosm of the greater population on the mainland, enthralled by a charlatan snake oil barker brought about by the establishment who have dictated the governance of the country for their own purposes over the scores of years. A revolt from the populace right or wrong and new phenomenon never expressed in American politics. Good or bad, that remains to be seen?

  12. roadsterred says:

    I just love how the pseudo intellectuals and elitists not only attack Trump but also his supporters. Apparently we’re ill-educated and ill-informed when it comes to the real Donald Trump. What they don’t get is we are angry than hxll! Anyone remember former candidates Dole, McCain,and Romney. If this is the best the Republican Establishment can offer, then we reject their offer. Watching Jeb Bush before he dropped from the race was embarrassing. Even his mother and brother couldn’t save him.

    On the Democratic side, Hillary the front runner is a known denier and liar. At least Obama kept his past hidden before being elected President.

  13. jankenpo says:

    Imagine…..Trump, Putin and Un…..WWIII

  14. ALLU says:

    Rubio’s message to Hawaii did not mean much because it only appeared when he needed something from Hawaii. Where was he before that?

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