Republican state Rep. Bob McDermott announced today he is withdrawing from the 2018 race for Hawaii governor after learning that another Republican plans to run.
State Rep. Andria Tupola (R, Kalailoa-Ko Olina-Maili) declined to say if she is the Republican that prompted McDermott’s decision, but said she recently filed a new organizational report with the Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission that indicates she plans to run for governor.
“I filed the necessary paperwork for me to begin the process of having open and honest conversations with people throughout Hawaii about what can be done to improve our state, and how I can help play a larger role in that effort,” said Tupola, 36. “I’m spending the next several weeks gathering input from people, mobilizing my campaign and I look forward to giving you more comments in the coming days.”
Tupola is one of five Republicans in the 51-member state House. She was first elected in 2014, and is the House minority leader.
McDermott, 54, said he mapped out a “very, very narrow path” to victory in the governor’s race, but that plan assumed that he would not have a contested Republican primary. When he learned that would not be the case, he said he decided to pull out of the race.
“For a two-party system, it doesn’t serve anybody’s purposes to cannibalize ourselves,” said McDermott, (R, Ewa Beach-Iroquois Point). “I’m going to stay in the state House and continue to work for West Oahu, and I’m going to try and get some infrastructure funding and balance out here.”
There are only five elected Republicans left in the state, and “from a practical standpoint, for the good of all concerned, it just doesn’t make sense to have a competitive Republican primary,” McDermott said. “In my view, it’s just foolish, so I decided to step aside and let someone else have the opportunity, to have a clear shot at it.”
“Someone else is going to emerge with absolutely certainty,” he said.