Sunday, February 4, 2001
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Posted on: Sunday, February 4, 2001

Wait! Is it 2002 already?

By Bob Dye

Trial balloons are in the air. Political rumors are flying.

A one-time "Mr. Republican," D.G. "Andy" Anderson may become a card-carrying Democrat.

Advertiser Library Photo - Nov. 10, 1999 -

OHA trustee Clayton Hee is hoping Jeremy Harris will move him a bit closer to Washington Place.

Advertiser Library Photo - Dec. 20, 2000 -

Honolulu Mayor Jeremy Harris already has raised a healthy sum of money for a gubernatorial bid.

Advertiser Library Photo - Jan. 2, 2001 -

If Jeremy Harris quits the mayor's job to run for governor, Mufi Hannemann will try to step in.

Advertiser Library Photo - April 18, 2000 -

Few think Lt. Gov. Mazie Hirono is strong enough to defeat Linda Lingle or Mayor Jeremy Harris.

Advertiser Library Photo - Jan. 30, 2001 -

The state Republicans' star, Linda Lingle, would love to see Democrats beat up on each other.

Advetiser Library Photo - Sept. 25, 2000 -

D.G. "Andy" Anderson, for many years THE Mr. Republican, is thinking seriously about entering the gubernatorial primary race as a Democrat. Several years ago Andy quit the Republican Party, which he once headed. But he didn’t become a card-carrying Democrat. Now he may do just that.

Here’s why. A couple of months ago, a group of prominent citizens, including Democrats, asked him to consider a run. He found the possibility "intriguing." And he’s been in ongoing talks with them ever since.

As I hear it, those talking to Andy want Lingle defeated. But they don’t much care for Jeremy Harris. And they think Mazie Hirono will have a tough time beating either Harris or Lingle. So they cast their nets elsewhere.

"Will Democrats accept me?" Andy wonders. Of course they will. Always have. As a Republican candidate in two races for mayor and two for governor, Andy drew significant Democratic votes. But never enough to win. Nevertheless, he is leading man handsome and has the charm and charisma of a Jack Kennedy, a quality not apparent in the most talked about candidates.

The entrepreneurial Anderson may be the spark plug that the Democratic Party needs. He still overflows with ideas to make the state a better place. A hard worker and disciplined thinker, he is goal-oriented and a consensus builder.

Remember he joined forces with his old political nemesis, ex-mayor Frank Fasi, to recapture Honolulu Hale from Eileen Anderson. Frank named him managing director, and that "dynamic duo" accomplished much. When asked what he thought of an Anderson bid, Frank said, "Hope springs eternal."

A longtime Anderson supporter and former aide, Jim Hall, recalls that on the night of Andy’s 1986 gubernatorial defeat, Andy’s wife Jean sighed, "The people of Hawaii will never know what they missed." Maybe we’re about to find out.

Linda Lingle, the Republican candidate for governor, says gleefully, "The more running on the other side the better." Lingle, not expecting to be seriously challenged in the Republican primary, will be able to target Hirono, Harris and perhaps Anderson, on the day the first shots are fired. She already has $165,000 for her campaign; Harris has $211,662.

Vicky Cayetano revealed on KHON-TV the other night that she too had political aspirations.

An exploratory committee assessed her chances in the expected special election for mayor of Honolulu. She’s given up on that notion, she says, but might be a candidate in 2004. Or in 2006 for governor? A Gov. Cayetano with charm? "She’ll be a hell of a candidate," says Jeremy Harris’ political pollster Don Clegg.

Candidates for co-star

Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustee Clayton Hee is interested in running as a Democrat for lieutenant governor. He already has discussed such a candidacy with Harris, the apparent gubernatorial front-runner among Democrats.

Others who might throw in their hats for mayor: Honolulu Council chairman Jon Yoshimura, a Maui boy who has been elected on Oahu, a potent combination for a statewide office; and his colleague, Councilman John DeSoto.

Mayoral wannabes

This race, like the Democratic primary, could be a humdinger. When Harris resigns his mayorship to run for governor, a special election will be held to determine his successor at Honolulu Hale. In that election, the candidate with the most votes will win, even if it’s less than 50 percent.

Mufi Hannemann, in mourning for his father, won’t talk politics at this time. But everyone guesses he will run again. Why not? Expect his next campaign to be more focused and more aggressive. He has $26,772 left over from his last bid.

And Frank Fasi will be back to challenge him. The former long-serving mayor believes that if he gets his legendary 30 percent of the vote in a crowded special election, he wins. He has $7,656.

Duke Bainum also is expected to join the fray. If he can help improve the quality of life and solve our transportation woes, he says, he wants to serve. He has $4,000.

Contemplating Congress

Although he was nominated to be the next president of the University of Hawaii, Congressman Neil Abercrombie didn’t close his campaign office. A member of the important Armed Services Committee, he’ll campaign hard to be returned to Washington. "I’ve invested too much to give it up easily," he says. Neil loves to campaign.

Congresswoman Patsy Mink says she will run for re-election, dampening the hopes of some departing Honolulu Council members who had hoped to move to Washington. Republicans Bob McDermott and Fred Hemmings are rumored to be interested in challenging her.

Lingle calls Hemmings a great potential candidate.

He says, "I thought I was cured of the political disease," and laughs.

"I have no such intentions at this time. I’ll keep my powder dry and my options open."

Exiting the political stage

Bowing out of elective politics when their terms are pau will be Honolulu City Councilmen John Henry Felix and Steve Holmes. Felix would like an appointed position; Holmes will seek gainful employment in government.

Bob Dye is a Kailua-based historian and writer.

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