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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, November 29, 2002

All signs point to low voter turnout

 •  Where to vote in tomorrow's special election
 •  38 candidates seek to complete Mink's term

By James Gonser
Advertiser Staff Writer

A special election to fill the remainder of the late U.S. Rep. Patsy Mink's term in the 107th Congress will be held tomorrow, but with a sold-out University of Hawai'i football game, Christmas shopping getting in full swing and a race whose winner will likely never cast a vote in Congress, no one is predicting a big turnout.

38 vie for chance to finish term

Congressional District 2 Special Election candidates:

  • Whitney T. Anderson (R)
  • John L. Baker (D)
  • Walter R. Barnes (R)
  • Paul Britos (D)
  • John S. (Mahina) Carroll (R)
  • Ed Case (D)
  • Brian G. Cole (D)
  • Dan A. Cole (N)
  • Chas Collins (D)
  • Joe Conner (R)
  • Lawrence (Lehr) Duquesne (L)
  • Doug Fairhurst (R)
  • Michael Gagne (D)
  • Carolyn Martinez Golojuch (R)
  • G. (Iimz) Goodwin (G)
  • Richard H. Haake (R)
  • S.J. Harlan (N)
  • Lillian Lai Lam Wang Hong (N)
  • Ron Jacobs (N)
  • Kekoa D. Kaapu (D)
  • Kimo Kaloi (R)
  • Jeff Mallan (L)
  • Robert M. Martin Jr. (N)
  • John Mayer (N)
  • Mark McNett (N)
  • John F. Mink (D)
  • Solomon Naluai (D)
  • Nick Nikhilananda (G)
  • John Parker (N)
  • Joseph Payne (R)
  • John (Jack) Randall (N)
  • Mike Rethman (N)
  • Art P. Reyes (D)
  • Clifford P. Rhodes (R)
  • Bill Russell (N)
  • Bob Schieve (R)
  • Steve Tataii (D)
  • Timmy Yuen (R)

Party abbreviations
Democrat — D
Green — G
Libertarian — L
Nonpartisan — N
Republican — R

Rex Quidilla, state Office of Elections spokesman, said the consolidation of polling places in the 2nd Congressional District could also adversely affect turnout, but will save the state money.

"We tried to get the word out on the precinct changes," Quidilla said. "We sent out voter notification cards, but if the voter did not pay attention to that card and they happen to be in one of the precincts that was consolidated, they may go to the wrong precinct."

Hawai'i Chief Elections Officer Dwayne Yoshina said the special election will cost between $1.3 million and $1.7 million. The number of polling places has been reduced from 192 to 91, which will save the state about $2,000 per site by not having to hire people to staff the precincts.

Mink, who had served Hawai'i in the U.S. House for 24 years, died of viral pneumonia Sept. 28, two days too late to have her name removed from the general election ballot. Voters honored her with a clear victory on Nov. 5.

The special election winner will fill the last five weeks of Mink's current term, until Jan. 3. Her husband, John, is a candidate for that position along with 37 others. The seat represents rural O'ahu and the Neighbor Islands.

John Mink is not running in the Jan. 4 election to fill that seat in the 108th Congress, but 44 others have filed for the race, including former state Rep. Ed Case, former Honolulu Mayor Frank Fasi, state Sen. Colleen Hanabusa, state Rep. Barbara Marumoto, former state Rep. Bob McDermott and former state Sen. Matt Matsunaga, who lost his bid for lieutenant governor in the general election.

Case is the most prominent Hawai'i Democrat in tomorrow's race, and Republicans McDermott, Whitney Anderson and John Carroll are the best-known from the GOP.

There is no clear front-runner in the race, and political analysts have speculated that the winner of the Nov. 30 election might have a slight advantage as an incumbent for the Jan. 4 election. But analysts also say voters could see tomorrow's vote as another chance to honor Mink by selecting her husband to finish her term.

Quidilla said no election results will be available until Sunday afternoon because all of the ballots are being flown to Honolulu for counting after the precincts close.

The U.S. House of Representatives has essentially left for the year and is staying in session only to respond to last-minute work in the U.S. Senate. Unless there is an emergency, the House likely will not gather again until January, when lawmakers will open the 108th Congress.

Tomorrow's winner cannot be sworn into office if the House is not in session and will likely never take the seat in Congress.

Reach James Gonser at jgonser@honoluluadvertiser.com or 535-2431.