Hawaii News Now will air the final debate between the two top challengers for
the Democratic nomination for U. S. Senate, Congresswoman Mazie Hirono and former Congressman Ed Case. Hirono agreed only weeks ago to this forum, to be televised on the three stations of Hawaii News Now (KFVE 5, KGMB 9, KHNL 8) around the state and online from 6:30 p.m. until 8 p.m.
Hirono had been receiving criticism about her decision to turn down most face-to-face meets with Case. One of the two will be the likely Democratic candidate for the General Election, facing likely Republican victor former Governor Lindle Lingle. Hirono has done one debate on Maui for AARP and four on Oahu. She turned down all requests for any forum or debate on Hawaii Island, including one sponsored by Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce and other community organizations. Since she declined the Hawaii Island meets, she’s also turned down invitations for one-on-one interviews, including a solo appearance on the LAVA 105.3 fm and KKOA 107.7 fm Sunday morning interview program, Island Issues.
In related news, Hirono has released an endorsement from Republican Congressman Don Young of Alaska. Although Hirono is touting this as an indication of her being able to work across the aisle that divides the Democrats from the Republicans, the Democratic Party Chair for Hawaii County, John Buckstead, had another take on the endorsement. As he said, ” it doesn’t take a political genius to figure out why a Republican from Alaska would endorse a Democrat in a primary race—it’s because he wants the Republican to win in the general election (and is concerned that Ed Case could beat Lingle, whereas he does not believe Hirono can.) Duh!!
Buckstead says Hirono is bragging that this endorsement from an Alaska Republican shows her ability to work across party lines, but those who pay any attention to Hawaii politics know that “trading pork” is not the same as crafting good public policy.”
Buckstead reminds that ten years ago, Mazie Hirono faced Linda Lingle in the Governor’s race. As Hirono has done this year, she refused most debate opportunities against her opponent. That included turning down a moderated debate in Kona, one sponsored by the Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce and other community organizations. Her refusal to face her opponent on Hawaii Island and elsewhere, much as she’s done this year, angered many Democrat and Independent voters.
Lingle went on to a significant victory and became Hawaii’s first Republican Governor since statehood, and served two terms.