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Trump wins among isle Republicans

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    Voters waited to register for the Hawaii Republican Party presidential caucus at Kaiser High School on Tuesday.


    Dan Long angled his umbrella against the wind after casting his presidential caucus vote at Kaiser High School. “Whether sleet or snow the Republicans always turn out for an election,” he said.


    Kalolaine Soukop, above, registered to vote at Kalani High School.


    Jake Perry, 11, and Jane Perry, 6, watched their mother, Mary Houston-Perry, vote at Mililani Mauka Elementary.

Isle republicans brave rain to vote in caucus

GOP split could give isles clout on the national stage

Billionaire Donald Trump won the Hawaii Republican Party’s presidential caucus voting Tuesday night, dramatically demonstrating his local appeal by spurring a strong voter turnout that swamped his competition.

After all the precincts were counted, Trump won handily with 42 percent of the vote, followed by Texas U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, at 33 percent, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida a distant third-place, 13 percent, and Ohio Gov. John R. Kasich fourth, just under 11 percent. Trump won more than 40 percent of the vote in all counties.

The New York businessman also won in Michigan and Mississippi on Tuesday, while Cruz won in Idaho.

Hawaii Republicans packed polling sites across the state Tuesday night for presidential caucus voting that was both unpredictable and unusually important for the national candidates.

State Rep. Cynthia Thielen (R, Kailua-Kaneohe) estimated 600 to 1,000 people were lined up at Enchanted Lake Elementary School shortly before 7 p.m. waiting to cast their ballots.

“The crowd is unbelievable and it’s raining, and this is just amazing,” Thielen said. “It’s wonderful with the people pouring in to vote, and a lot of them are standing out under umbrellas. This line is snaking around the school and it just doesn’t stop. It’s absolutely amazing.”

The final vote tally showed the statewide Republican caucus turnout was more than 13,300 voters, which exceeded the 2012 presidential caucuses by several thousand votes.

Voters eager

Some GOP voters were determined to have their say. Pete Saunders showed up two hours early at Highlands Intermediate School in Pearl City to vote for Trump. “I hate Trump but I’m going to vote for him because I’m sick of politicians,” said Saunders, a 60-year-old Waipio resident and Pearl Harbor mechanic. “He’s not for sweetness and light. I’m tired of the same old thing. If you’re doing the same thing over and over and expecting (different) results, you’re insane.”

Voting began at 6 p.m. and was scheduled to last two hours, but GOP Hawaii announced shortly after the scheduled close that voters still in line at 8 p.m. would be allowed to vote.

First-time voter and Kahala resident Shawn Whetstine, 24, turned out at Kalani High School in East Honolulu to vote for Cruz.

“He’ll make a better candidate than Trump,” Whetstine said. “I don’t believe in what Trump’s doing.”

Andrew Walden, chairman of the Hawaii Republican caucus committee, said the strong voter turnout across the state delayed 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 said.

Nathan Paikai, lead volunteer for the Trump campaign in Hawaii, said Trump poll observers at voting locations across the state reported the sites were overwhelmed, and he worried the party would run out of ballots.

“The excitement is unreal,” Paikai said. “Unprecedented numbers.”

Kimo Sutton, co-chairman of Trump’s Hawaii campaign, said his candidate was responsible for the strong turnout.

“Donald got them out because they are inspired by the many ways that they see him as their candidate,” Sutton said. “They are a diverse group of people out there, so you could ask 20 people and get 20 different answers.”

Colin Moore, director of the Public Policy Center at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, predicted that “disengaged voters” who normally don’t participate in caucuses would turn out because they like Trump’s style and message. But he also expected a strong turnout from traditional Republican activists “who would be horrified if Hawaii nominates Trump.”

Support for Cruz, Rubio

That deep split in the Republican Party over the extraordinary campaign by Trump made the outcome of the caucus voting last night almost impossible to predict.

“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.”

The local Republican Party is small enough that a surge of activism from almost any quarter can overwhelm the “traditional” mainstream local Republican voters.

Church groups have at times seized control of 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 turn any church support into a win here.

Former Lt. Gov. James “Duke” Aiona, who is known for his ties to local church organizations, this week endorsed Rubio, the Florida senator, instead of Cruz. Aiona said he likes Rubio’s youth, and prefers his vision regarding 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 last night. Aiona said he believes the local churches were divided between Cruz and Rubio, but he hoped for a strong church turnout. The evangelical community understands the influence the next president will have on the makeup of the U.S. Supreme Court, he said.

Four of the six Republican candidates who qualified to compete in the caucus voting in Hawaii were still active this week. They are Trump, Cruz, Rubio and Kasich. But Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson each gained less than 1 percent of the Hawaii vote despite having dropped out of the race.

The local voting tally ensures that Trump will receive the majority of Hawaii’s 19 Republican delegates, although the exact breakdown was not immediately announced.

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

‘Trump factor’

Hawaii is the most racially diverse state in the nation, Moore said, 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.’”

Former U.S. Rep. Djou, who is supporting Kasich, said the Ohio governor’s team focused more on Michigan than Hawaii for Tuesday’s races, and is even more intent on the voting in Ohio on March 15. In the end, Kasich lost in both Michigan and Hawaii.

“What makes this year weird and different is the Trump factor,” Djou said. “Trump is not organized, he doesn’t have good guidance or leadership here, he has not done any of the traditional work one would normally expect in a caucus, and like so many other aspects of Trump, I don’t get it.”

Normally, seeking the support of a caucus is “all about contacts” and reaching out to party members, but Trump didn’t do that, said Djou, who served in the U.S. House in 2010 and 2011. For example, email is a cheap, easy way to reach out to targeted potential voters, but Djou said he saw no effort by the Trump camp to collect email addresses and communicate with supporters.

A campaign that fails to do that sort of basic work would be doomed in an ordinary year, but “Trump has this sort of attraction with a strongman persona that resonates with a certain part of the electorate, that it doesn’t matter whether you have that sort of disciplined organization or not,” said Djou.

A large turnout of disaffected voters supporting Trump provides potential new recruits for the local Republican party, but there is also a risk for the party in a Trump victory, Moore said.

“The Hawaii Republicans have suffered for so long because of this image of a deeply conservative mainland party,” Moore said, an image that has never played well in Hawaii.

“If Trump gets the nomination, I think that could really hurt the party in the long run. It’s going to be much more difficult for them to advertise themselves as kind of a moderate alternative to the mainland party. If they’re trying to increase their long-term electoral success, I think this could really be a black eye for them.”

Star-Advertiser reporters Dan Nakaso and Jayna Omaye contributed to this report.

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  • Too easily history repeats itself; that is how Hitler and his brownshirt Nazis came to power. It only left death camps and dead civilians as a result.

      • manakuke worried about the “brownshirts”? I’m worried about his brown shorts cuz he is full of it. A liberal is the closest thing to Adolph’s philosophy the way they hate Israel so much.

        • Yeah. That’s a great point, except there’s no factual basis to back it up. You downgrade Israel into a common noun, and by your capitalization, state that God hates Israel. Nothing in Bernie’s foreign policy even suggests that he hates Israel. If there was, you’d easily have stated specifics in his foreign policy.

        • HIE,
          No, you have made my point. He is keeping his mouth shut because he is a liberal. Seems like if he were like the republican candidates he would have a very clear statement and view regarding israel, their relationship in the middle east and how his policies would support or oppose israeli policies.
          What is very clear however is who he gets advice from regarding foreign policy. The three stooges. Say no more, say no more.

    • The Donald can hardly be called Hitler. Maybe Handsome Johnny, professional wrestler from the sixties, but hardly Hitler. Shame the republican field is so poor, totally devoid of republican values.

      • Big win for Trump in spite of all the big money and power that is against him. The people have spoken and the GOP leadership is in denial. Have a Trump steak and some Trump wine.

        • Boots has the typical “mom” attitude trying to shame the kids. Guess what will happen? This phenom is like a mass rebellion.

    • You seem to have a naive view of the Nazi phenomena.

      It is based on a delusional world view in which people are identified with fake categories.
      In the case of the Nazis the categories were based on how much German/Jewish “blood” you had, a made up substance.
      Often you have an underlying agenda. You dream up some categories to (pseudo)scientifically support your case.

      This kind of delusion seems to commonly occur on the left.
      It is at the heart of Marxism and its class struggle.
      The more common examples today are fake sexuality categories.
      Since it is phony, it cannot survive criticism and it consequently leads to tyranny.
      It is rampant on college campuses where free speech is suppressed under the rubric “rules of community”.
      Some of the negative reactions to Trump come from his refusal to play the game.

      • AND, that’s why we need “THE DONALD”–to shakeup the Bureaucrats, The Bankers, Wall-Street, The Pentagon, The Military Industrial Complex, The Unions, “Big Pharma”, all Government Departments, The Judicial Systems, and rid the White House, Congress, and The Senate of greedy-meddling-Lobbyists, et al, etc… Of course, if Trump were elected he would most likely be assassinated. So, it is most important to know who he will select as his VICE PRESIDENT. (JFK/LBJ(?))

        • LoL! But of course the Donald will never be elected president….will he? The hottie Sarah P. would make a good running mate.

        • Obama never went after the big guys and the power elite. He just fell in line. Too big to fail banks are bigger then ever.

    • So, you are saying that our Military leaders, Representatives, all the high ranking civil servants, and the people of the United States will allow Donald Trump or any President to declare a dictatorship? Hitler rose to power because the people allowed him to raise to power. The people of the United States, regardless of who is in the Presidents seat, would never allow a standing President to declare a dictatorship. We would would fall into a civil war if that happen.

    • So if lots of people vote for a candidate that you don’t like, that makes him a Nazi? What about a President that rules by Presidential Orders — not by laws?

    • That’s a ridiculous comparison, Hitler was possibly the largest mass murderer to ever walk the face of this earth. Trump is far from perfect but he represents an almost guarantee of change in Washington if he gets elected. Both parties are probably fearful of this outcome, Trump doesn’t owe anyone anything and it scares them. The military industrial complex and drug companies are worried the gravy train is coming to a halt.

    • I thought you were referring to Obama and the 8-year Obamanation, which is well into the process of killing the health care system and the economy.

  • Its funny to read about all the established politicians who CAN’T understand the appeal for TRUMP. People are SICK of all the B$ spewed by these losers.

    Trump is NOT bought and SOLD like every other elected official. They have been in charge for decades and things are getting WORSE.

    Time for Change TRUMP 2016

  • As a supporter of Ted Cruz, he will get between six and seven of the 19 total delegates from Hawaii. Carly Fiorina has endorsed and support Ted Cruz for President. Outstanding.

  • At this stage, I’m a little wary of Trump. People are flocking to him like some messiah because they long for leadership and decisiveness and also because he’s unlike any other candidate past or present. They’re tired of the same old, same old from our politicians.
    However, there are some things that bother me about Trump. 1) He tends to open his mouth first before engaging his brain. How will that play out on the global stage? He might tick off other world leaders or even start another war. 2) The man’s been bankrupt 4 times. Is this someone we want running our economy? 3) His no response to David Duke’s endorsement raises red flags. For someone who shoots from the mouth first, Donald said nothing or next to nothing. THAT is bothersome. It lends a bit of credence to the comment that Mexico’s president made about Hitler and Mussolini. On the other side of the ledger, I’m not too crazy about Clinton either. It’s a trust issue here.

    • They were Chapter 11 corporate bankruptcies which are not the same thing as personal or Chapter 7.
      At the scale of his business operations, and because of the purpose of Chapter 11, this is not a big deal.

      He responded to the David Duke and KKK thing several times, saying “I disavow them”.
      The incident you are referring to was one in which he was responding to a different question, which involved a list of groups, not all of whom he was familiar with.

  • Did the name “Donald Trump” or even Ted Cruz woke up those who don’t vote on election day, to overwelm Republican cauces voting area last night? Awesome, just amazing.

    Now if those voters who came last night, would also shop up in the general election in November and help elect the Republican nominee for President as well as voting for a local Republican State Senator and a Republican State Representative and remove the Democratic party power hold on the State government/legislature.
    The Democratic party has been the power of State government, hook, line and sinker. And you wonder why we are over-tax burden and have to suffer just about every State legislature year, that these Democrat raising a tax for their mismanagement or greed in their budget.
    So I hope this November this same big turnout and come out and vote this November 2016.

  • my mom, a big Obama supporter, is voting for Trump. a lady on the news said she was a democrat and was voting republican because of Obama. the fact that the leaders of Mexico, China, Iran and others are concerned that Trump could be president is more reason that he should be our next president. these countries have been sticking it to us for too long. if you put any credence into what Vicente Fox says, then you are not an American. this guy did nothing to stop the drug cartels, the human smuggling and murders in his own country. instead the used his position to make himself a rich man.

  • This scenario could even become more scary. What IF The Donald is elected POTUS. He select’s Sarah Palin as Vice-President. Something bad happens to the “Donald.” Following protocol, Sarah Palin becomes POTUS.

    Mahalo !!!

  • I’m voting for Trump. People say I’m stupid to vote for him. I’m so sick of all of the bull—- regarding all the lies that they all tell. At least Trump he says it like it is. Maybe he wouldn’t be able to find his way to the White House but that is okay. He still has my vote. I hear that he may do away with unions for the State and City, but that is okay because a lot of these workers need to know that they now if that happens they will get fired. As for now because of the dual process it is hard to get fired from the State or City, we will see now. Good luck to Trump – looking good. Just a little thought, “to each their own”.

    • No way, Trump personally hates Rubio and Cruz and would be a disaster to choose Sarah Palin. More likely they will suggest to him to make Carson, Kasich or even Fiorina as the Repub VP candidate. Choosing Carson will get the African American vote and since Trump already has the Caucasian vote Kasich would be a bad idea, just like how Romney chose Caucasian Ryan. Fiorina would be the best to match up against Hillary and Fiorina would be the best attack dog against Hillary and convince the female vote to vote Repub. However the best chance to get all minorities to vote Repub instead of Demo is to have Ben Carson as VP. They guy is mellow enough not to clash with Trump. Despite the fact Trump is in fact a closet racist like Sarah Palin (who left Hawaii when she was attending college because too many “brown” and non-white people around her), in is smart enough to listen to his advisors that his best chance of winning the presidency is with Carson.

  • Is Trump being set up with all these first time voters,independents and some democrats for the November election. On another note saw Gabbard on stage with Sanders.
    Her supporting him may be helping him.Whoever gets to November will be a dog fight.

    • The long shot is for Sanders to become the Demo candidate if for some reason Hillary gets indicted, then Sanders could choose Tulsi as his VP and she will attract even more voters unlike Palin who actually repels voters. However from what you read Obama must be putting pressure on the FBI to NEVER indict Hillary. Or if they do indict, plan B is for her to plead no contest and then Obama will pardon her before he leaves office. Hillary will owe Obama so much that it will insure Obama’s legacy is carried through Hillary. For Hawaii it would be interesting that if Trump becomes president, there is a good chance he could start the sequence of events that would end the Oahu train project and with Hillary it would be status quo. Trump would save the taxpayers money by defunding a corrupt and wasteful project and would be the ultimate personal diss to Obama who Trump says was never born in Hawaii. With Trump he does hold grudges and acts on them.

  • To paraphrase “Mitch,” from the movie ‘Waiting,’ Trump doing better than the other GOP candidates in the caucus, is “…like being the smartest kid with downs syndrome.”

    • “In the Land of the Blind, the One Eyed Man is King”.

      Still, the kid with Down’s is more honest and trustworthy than the candidate currently under federal investigation.

  • ““If Trump gets the nomination, I think that could really hurt the party in the long run.””

    Don’t blame Trump for what you clowns have been doing perfectly well for the last 3 decades.

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