Abercrombie: Money's there to fill vacant seat

Abercrombie: Money's there to fill vacant seat
Neil Abercrombie
Neil Abercrombie

By Duane Shimogawa bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The money's there. That's what former congressman and candidate for governor Neil Abercrombie says about the costly special election to fill his seat.

He spoke to hundreds at the grand opening of his campaign headquarters, which was delayed from last Saturday because of the tsunami.

Legislators are asking state elections officials to delay the May 22nd special election. They say it's too costly... especially since the state is facing major budget problems.

Hundreds waited outside, some for a couple of hours, awaiting the grand opening of Abercrombie's campaign headquarters.

But after the long wait, his supporters were treated to a familiar sight around this time of the year, Chinese Lion Dancing.

Then the real show began, as Abercrombie spoke about his main priority, which is to rejuvenate the state's economy.

But a special election to fill his congressional seat will cost nearly $1-million. Abercrombie says the state already has the money, when the office of elections found $1.3-million in a forgotten account.

"You may recall it was simply put in the wrong accounting category, so the money for the special election should be spent for that purpose," Abercrombie said.

At a legislative hearing Friday, lawmakers pressured the State Elections Office to delay the election because they may want to spend the found money elsewhere.

They say they're puzzled about paying for a special election, while the state is cutting vital programs.

Abercrombie defends his decision to leave his congress seat early.

"I don't think it's honorable to take a paycheck for pretending I'm in office or to do it part time," he said. "I felt the only thing I could do if I wanted to be committed all in for the governor's race was to in fact do it."

The deputy attorney general says the state would probably be sued and lose if the election were postponed.