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Honolulu mayor’s race: Carlisle is in, Martin out


    Council Chairman Ernie Martin (right) has announced that he won’t run for Honolulu mayor, but former Mayor Peter Carlisle, will.


    In August 2014, after cruising handily to reelection, Martin posted a photo on social media of him posing with a large “Ernie Martin Mayor” sign.

Council Chairman Ernie Martin has announced that he won’t run for Honolulu mayor, ending nearly two years of speculation over whether he would challenge incumbent Mayor Kirk Caldwell for that office.

Former Mayor Peter Carlisle, meanwhile, will challenge Caldwell.

Carlisle, who lost his reelection bid in the 2012 primary, filed papers today to run after announcing several weeks ago that he intends to reclaim the city’s top electoral post.

Martin, who would have needed to resign as the Council’s leader to run for mayor, cited the city’s problems on rail and homelessness as key reasons for his decision to stay put.

“I believe that this is the right course of action given the numerous challenges facing Honolulu,” a statement posted to Martin’s website read today. “I have taken the lead in ensuring that the rail project is accountable to how it spends our money and advocated for innovative and community-based solutions in addressing our homelessness crisis.”

“To step-aside for my personal ambitions at a time when these issues continue to demand true leadership would be selfish,” it further read.

Martin’s most recent filings with the state’s Campaign Spending Commission show that he had a campaign war chest of more than $492,000 as of Dec. 31 — funding that he could use in future races. Term limits will prohibit him from running for reelection to the Council in 2018. It remains to be seen what political plans he might have for the future. Martin wasn’t immediately available for comment Monday.

The Council chairman had previously acknowledged that he wanted to be mayor. In August 2014, after cruising handily to reelection, Martin posted a photo on social media of him posing with a large “Ernie Martin Mayor” sign.

Several days before posting that image, when asked whether he might run for mayor, Martin said that Caldwell had supported Martin’s opponents in recent years, and that “coming in 2016 I’ll be seriously looking to return the favor.”

Caldwell released a statement today on Martin’s decision: “I know it was a difficult decision to make, but I appreciate Chair Martin’s careful consideration and I look forward to working with him over the next two years that he will serve on the Council.”

The decision brings the mayoral race into slightly clearer focus on the eve of the deadline for candidates to file their papers and commit. It remains to be seen what former Lt. Gov. James “Duke” Aiona and former U.S. Rep. Charles Djou will do. Aiona has pulled papers for three races including mayor but hasn’t filed yet.

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    • What do you mean, other than the fact that both Carlisle and Trump are white males? I’ve never known Peter to be racist, or xenophobic, or any of the other many distasteful attributes that Trump exhibits. Can you be more specific? Thanks.

  • I wonder if the religious guy and Djou will run. Both have lost so many times that it’s a wonder they have the will to face another defeat.

  • Funny Martin decided not to run for mayor. If you noticed when he was talking loud about the Rail, he did not offer any solutions or even a suggestion as to how to correct the overspending. Same thing on the homeless. He is quick to point fingers but pointing fingers does not solve the problems. True politician at it’s finest.

    • This is exactly why he turtled out of running for mayor. In the very highly unlikely event he’d won, he’d actually have to WORK to create solutions, versus criticize and make incredibly dumb decisions (like help churches get hundreds of thousands of dollars from the city, because even though he went to UH Law School, apparently, Martin doesn’t understand the concept of separating church and state). Whoops, sorry for denigrating turtles.

  • If there are no other choices to choose from, it will not matter who wins the race for Mayor. Both Capt Kirk and Carlisle work for the same guys and are losers.
    The iceberg is looming and we are all on the Titanic listening to the band playing.

  • Oahu…Oahu ….Oahu ! If Oahu votes either Carlise or Captain Kirk, you ,Oahu will truly have LOST IT! And the other two usual (R) suspects you can just forget about them too! Same old Characters walking though a revolving door! Cripes!
    This is Insanity folks! Where are the New Bees and the Independents?Ernie had a good chance of winning why did he chicken out? Oh? Forgot…… RAIL!

  • Whaaaaaaaaat??? No Mooooooofeeeeeee?!?!?!?!

    Regardless…guess I’ll just vote for whoever is against Krook. Just because. NOT because they’re the better choice.

    • Peter Carlisle has frequented GOP conventions, but where the toy choo-choo is concerned, he’s willing to spend the big bucks and go over the $8.1 bill mark.

      Believe it or not the best fiscal conservative would be Djou. Don’t know if he’s considering entering the mayoral race, but he has until tomorrow.

  • martin is not telling the truth; the real truth he cannot win, now or ever. he stated he wanted to remain in the council so he could work on making rail better and the homeless issue. this is trash, as mayor he would have more control over these issues, he would be working directly with the people involved.

    • Agree, but then politicians are not known for telling the truth. I suspect he is afraid of all the bible toting bald skeletons that would run out his closet if he ran.

  • Too bad Carlisle supports Rail too. There needs to be a better candidate Or is this like the Presidential race — Trump and Clinton. Neither.

  • Carlisle is just a retread. He was no good for nothing the last time. Don’t expect anything more this time around.

    Ernie used some brains and is looking to the future. He will finish his two more years as Councilman and set himself up to run for the State House in 2018 against the Republican candidate for Mililani/Mililani Mauka district. With his young kids, Ernie needs a job with some longevity and more than short term limits. But we have a surprise for him in 2018. Go get him Beth!!

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