The State Reapportionment Commission met Friday, and took no vote on finalizing the lines for the districts for State Senate and State House. The subcommittee working on the district lines met for four hours, but could not come to agreement. Their current maps, unveiled a week ago, met with opposition from some Democrats in the State House of Representatives, who accused the Commission of drawing district lines to favor those who support House Chair Calvin Say, but pitting incumbents on Oahu who oppose Say’s chairmanship against each other. The Commission members deny the charge.
Chair Victoria Marks said she realizes it will be a challenge–and likely impossible– to please everybody. The Reapportionment Commission adjourned today’s meeting as a recess, with plans to resume the meeting next Tuesday. At this point, they plan to vote on the final maps next Thursday, March 8. Their meeting is set to start at 1:30 p.m. in Conference Room 329 at the State Capitol.
Because of the delay in finalizing the maps, the State Office of Elections is not yet accepting any filing packets from candidates running for State House or State Senate. That has not stopped some Hawaii Island candidates from declaring they are running: State Senator Josh Green, D-West Hawaii (District 3, West Hawai‘i, from Kona Airport in the north to Na‘alehu in the south, including Kailua-Kona, Kealakekua, Captain Cook, Honaunau, Miloli‘i, and Ocean View) announced earlier this week he will run for reelction. State Senator Malama Solomon, D-Waimea, Hamakua, North Hilo and a portion of South Hilo, is holding a fundraising event on Saturday, March 3, at Waimea’s Jade Palace Restaurant, and it is presumed she will seek reelection. State Senator Gil Kahele (Ka’u, Puna, Hilo), has also not announced but has a web site soliciting campaign donations so it’s assumed he also will run. Both Solomon and Kahele were appointed to their current positions by Governor Abercrombie after he appointed their predecessors, State Senators Dwight Takamine and Russell Kokubun, to fill cabinet positions in the Abercrombie administration.
Fred Housel, a Kona coffee farmer and currently chair of the Kona Town Meetings, announced more than a month ago he intends to run for State House–once the District lines are final.
The State Office of Elections has confirmed the final date to file candidate papers will be June 5. The primary election is Saturday, August 11, 2012, with walk-in voting starting July 30.
See previous story from March 1: http://www.bigislandnewscenter.com/state-district-map-vote-delayed-until-friday/