ILWU endorses Honolulu mayor
The International Longshore and Warehouse Union Tuesday endorsed Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann in the Democratic primary for governor.
Isaac Fiesta Jr., the union's president, described it as a difficult decision given that Hannemann's rival is former congressman Neil Abercrombie, a liberal with a history as a strong advocate for labor.
The ILWU has a rich tradition of involvement with Democratic politics in the Islands. While the union's political power may have slipped with the emergence of public-sector labor unions, the endorsement could carry significant weight among rank-and--file Democrats.
Hannemann, who has not officially declared his candidacy but has been actively raising money, said the endorsement brings him "a step closer" to a campaign.
Hannemann said his executive experience as mayor sets him apart from Abercrombie.
Three Hawaii-based locals of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers labor union, meanwhile, announced that they are backing Abercrombie.
The former congressman warned that Hannemann is putting Honolulu's mass
transit project at risk by leaving to run for governor. He said Hannemann should remain as mayor to see the rail project launched.