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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, October 28, 2002

For the public's sake, vote Mink on Nov. 5

One of the strangest decisions facing voters on Nov. 5 will be that presented to residents of the 2nd Congressional District (Rural O'ahu- Neighbor Islands).

One of the four party candidates on the ballot in that race, Democrat Patsy Mink, has passed away. If she wins the election, it will be posthumously and a second election will have to be conducted to find someone to serve out her two-year term.

If one of the other candidates wins — Republican Bon McDermott, Libertarian Jeff Mallan or Natural Law candidate Nicholas Bedworth — then there will be no need for that second election.

(There will, of course, still be yet another special election to fill out the remaining weeks of Mink's current term. That is slated for Nov. 30.)

It has been argued that voters should cast their ballot for Mink to honor her work and her service in the U.S. Congress. That's a nice thought, but there is another, more practical reason to vote for Mink in the 2nd District on Nov. 5.

Because of the timing of her unfortunate illness and subsequent death, Mink was not able to campaign for re-election. This left a void that the other candidates, particularly Republican McDermott, had no way to fill.

McDermott was cheated out of the campaign he sought: a one-on-one battle of ideas and ideology with Mink. And the voters lost an opportunity to hear the ideas and record of both McDermott and Mink openly debated in a live political setting.

McDermott has some interesting ideas and a good story to tell, but he lost the opportunity to do that because of Mink's absence.

The job of representing Hawai'i in Congress is far too important to go to the last person standing. It should go to the person best suited for the post, as tested in a campaign where ideas can be debated, records analyzed and the candidates heard.

The only way to get this kind of testing process under way is to have a special election for Mrs. Mink's seat should she — as we hope — win re-election posthumously.

That will kick off a live, active campaign for the 2nd District. Expensive, yes, but it will give voters a real chance to learn who would best represent them and their needs in Congress.

Vote for Patsy Mink on Nov. 5.