Republican National Committee Summit draws protesters - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Republican National Committee Summit draws protesters

Christina Rainwater Christina Rainwater
Jonah Kaauwai Jonah Kaauwai
Dan Boylan Dan Boylan

Republican National Committee Summit draws protesters

By Mari-Ela David - bio | email

WAIKIKI (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii will soon see a lot of red, in its blue territory. On Wednesday, the Republican National Committee (RNC) kicks off its winter meeting in Waikiki.

But the prelude started Tuesday with the RNC's Women Island Summit, which attracted some protesters.

The rally called for no school furloughs, no rail delays, and no Governor Lingle. As she nears the end of her term, what does this mean for the Hawaii Republican Party?

Apparently, it could mean change.

Protesters upset with Governor Lingle's policies rallied outside the Hilton Hawaiian Village, where the RNC held its Women's Island Summit.

"We're not going to tolerate this anymore. The Republican Party has totally went political and ditched the rest of the public," said Christina Rainwater, a protester.

Media was not allowed inside the summit, which is designed to train future GOP candidates.

But outside closed doors, Hawaii News Now caught up with Hawaii Republican Party Chair Jonah Kaauwai.

"As small as the RNC foothold is in Hawaii, right now, it's definitely going to bring an economic boost and to show support for two races that could turn the tides nationally," said Kaauwai.

Namely Honolulu Council member Charles Djou's race for U.S. House and Lieutenant Governor Duke Aiona's race for Hawaii's top seat.

Kaauwai says Governor Lingle's exit does not signal a hit to Hawaii Republicans, pointing to GOP candidate Scott Brown who won Ted Kennedy's Democratic seat in the U.S. Senate in Massachusetts.

"Today and this week has proven that the Republican Party nationally is backing up the local party in Hawaii," said Kaauwai.

"If the Republican Party leaders in Hawaii think they have a shot, I have a silly feeling that they're closer to the truth than some of the Democrats like to admit," said political analyst, Dan Boylan.

Boylan says that doesn't necessarily mean a Republican will win the governor's seat.

Democrats still dominate the state.

But Boylan says the political climate is changing.

"I think that Charles Djou, I think that Duke Aiona, I think that some Republicans running in some districts this year probably have a slightly better chance today than they did six months ago," said Boylan.

The winter meeting runs through Saturday.

More than 160 RNC delegates will be there.

Speakers include RNC Chair, Michael Steele, and Governor Lingle.

 

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