Unions endorse candidates for governor - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Unions endorse candidates for governor

Mayor Mufi Hannemann Mayor Mufi Hannemann
Jonah Kaauwai Jonah Kaauwai
Neil Abercrombie Neil Abercrombie

By Jim Mendoza - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - "Mufi has the vision, the ability to put Hawaii back on the right track," said Isaac Fiesta, president of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU)..

In the battle of the labor union endorsements, the ILWU wants Mufi Hannemann for governor.

"To have an ILWU endorsement is a real feather in your cap," Hannemann said.

But the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) picked another name.

"The three IBEWs are endorsing Neil," union business manager Lance Miyake said.

The IBEW prefers Neil Abercrombie.

"The taxpayers are not interested in the fortunes or misfortunes of an individual politician," Abercrombie said.

In Hawaii politics, democrats view union endorsements as a road that could lead to victory in the voting booth.

Unions put their people to work for candidates: sign-waving, organizing events, and passing out leaflets.

"I wouldn't want to go into any political contest in Hawaii without having the endorsement from the principal unions," political analyst Dan Boylan said.

But Hawaii republicans see it much differently.

"We look at a union endorsement as more of a hindrance because what happens is when a union endorses you then you now become beholding to their agenda," Hawaii republican party chairman Jonah Kaauwai said.

Hannemann has yet to declare his run for governor.

"This obviously is a strong nudge to me to make that official declaration sooner rather than later," he said.

"As you can see, some unions will be for one candidate or they'll be for another," Abercrombie said.

He's in the race as is republican front runner Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona.

Kaauwai said they'll target support from small business, conservative and faith-based groups.

"Duke has a great chance of winning," he said.

The primary election is in September.

Copyright 2010 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly