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Joe Biden easily wins Hawaii Democratic presidential caucuses

JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARADVERTISER.COM
                                Volunteer Ed Hasegawa, left, watches as a voter places a ballot during voting for the 2024 Hawaii Democratic Party caucus at Stevenson Middle School tonight. Also pictured are volunteers Kamana Seymour, middle, and Rae Gee.
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JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARADVERTISER.COM

Volunteer Ed Hasegawa, left, watches as a voter places a ballot during voting for the 2024 Hawaii Democratic Party caucus at Stevenson Middle School tonight. Also pictured are volunteers Kamana Seymour, middle, and Rae Gee.

JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARADVERTISER.COM
                                Voters arrive during voting for the 2024 Hawaii Democratic Party caucus at Stevenson Middle School tonight,.
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JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARADVERTISER.COM

Voters arrive during voting for the 2024 Hawaii Democratic Party caucus at Stevenson Middle School tonight,.

ASSOCIATED PRESS
                                President Joe Biden speaks during a meeting of his Competition Council to announce new actions to lower costs for families in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, on Tuesday. Democrats in Hawaii are voting on their party’s nominee for president.
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Swipe or click to see more

ASSOCIATED PRESS

President Joe Biden speaks during a meeting of his Competition Council to announce new actions to lower costs for families in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, on Tuesday. Democrats in Hawaii are voting on their party’s nominee for president.

JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARADVERTISER.COM
                                Volunteer Ed Hasegawa, left, watches as a voter places a ballot during voting for the 2024 Hawaii Democratic Party caucus at Stevenson Middle School tonight. Also pictured are volunteers Kamana Seymour, middle, and Rae Gee.
JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARADVERTISER.COM
                                Voters arrive during voting for the 2024 Hawaii Democratic Party caucus at Stevenson Middle School tonight,.
ASSOCIATED PRESS
                                President Joe Biden speaks during a meeting of his Competition Council to announce new actions to lower costs for families in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, on Tuesday. Democrats in Hawaii are voting on their party’s nominee for president.

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Democratic Party of Hawaii holds presidential caucus

President Joe Biden handily won the Democratic Party of Hawaii’s caucus Wednesday night, but “uncommitted” equaled nearly 30% of the votes tallied.

A total of 1,563 votes were cast statewide, with Biden receiving 1,032, or 66%, while uncommitted took 455 votes, or 29%. Other candidates receiving votes were self-help author and spiritual guru Marianne Williamson with 50, or 3%, and U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips with 15, or 1%, according to the party. Two other candidates had single-digit vote tallies.

Party officials released the results after 10 p.m. but did not release the delegate allocation because they were still waiting for results from Lanai Democrats.

Hawaii will send 22 pledged delegates to the party’s national convention in August. Five at-large delegates and three party leader and elected official delegates will be allocated in proportion to the statewide vote. The state’s two congressional districts will each send seven delegates.

Under Democratic National Committee delegate selection rules, any candidate is eligible to win delegates if they receive at least 15% of the statewide vote or 15% of the vote in any congressional district.

Wednesday night’s win propels Biden closer to his party’s nomination again after romping through the Super Tuesday contests this week.

Biden went into the vote with the advantage of incumbency and name recognition.

He’s expected to formally clinch the Democratic nomination this month and will almost certainly face Donald Trump in the general election after Trump’s last major Republican rival, Nikki Haley, exited the race.

John Bickel, a high school social studies teacher, voted for Bernie Sanders four years ago but showed up to this year’s caucus in a blue Biden-Harris T-shirt.

He liked how Biden shepherded an expansion of the child tax credit, which cut the U.S. child poverty rate in half, and how he stood on the picket line with striking auto workers. He said no other president has done what Biden has done to “be there personally for labor.”

“Those kinds of things really impressed me about Joe Biden,” Bickel said.

Bill Milks, an 80-year-old retiree, voted uncommitted because he doesn’t think Biden, who is 81, is capable of effectively debating or campaigning for president.

“He just is not healthy enough to exhibit a lot of enthusiasm and inspire people to believe that he can hang in there and do a good job for four more years,” Milks said.

Hawaii Democrats cast their ballots at school cafeterias, community centers and union halls across the state. Only registered voters who were party members were allowed to participate but the party made same-day day party enrollment and voter registration possible at each poll site. In-person voting started at 6 p.m. and lasted through 8 p.m.

Adrian Tam, the interim chairperson of the Democratic Party of Hawaii, noted Biden’s success in states like Michigan where party contests already have been held.

“The American people really do have confidence in President Biden’s leadership. So, as expected, he does have the upper hand when it comes to our upcoming caucus,” Tam said earlier on Wednesday.

Hawaii is a Democratic Party stronghold. Democrats control both chambers of the state Legislature and the governor’s office. All four member’s of the state’s congressional delegation are Democrats.

Republicans in Hawaii will hold their presidential caucuses on Tuesday.

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