Democrats plan for rebound at convention - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Democrats plan for rebound at convention

Dante Carpenter Dante Carpenter
Francis Choe Francis Choe

By Duane Shimogawa - bio | email

WAIKIKI (HawaiiNewsNow) - 2010 is proving to be a tough year for Democrats.

Ed Case and Colleen Hanabusa effectively split the vote in last week's special election.

Republican Charles Djou was able to capitalize on that, winning the congressional seat left behind by Neil Abercrombie.

Meanwhile, Abercrombie and Mufi Hannemann are already attacking each other as they vie for the governor's seat.

That brings us to this weekend's Democratic convention, where the big question is, with so much in-fighting already, can the Democrats unite?

The chairman of the Democratic Party certainly thinks so. He admits they've become over-confident, but at this weekend's convention, it's back to the basics.

It's a moment most Democrats would like to forget.

A big win for Charles Djou and the Republican Party, as the two Democratic contenders split the vote for the first congressional seat.

"Were we counting our chickens before they hatched? You bet," Hawaii Democratic Party chairman Dante Carpenter said. "So this has been a sobering moment in the life of being a Democrat."

With that seat up for grabs in November, another important one may overshadow it.

The battle between two old foes, Neil Abercrombie and Mufi Hannemann, to be the Democratic nominee for governor.

Both spoke at Saturday's convention and swayed away from negative comments towards one another.

"I can tell you that this campaign is going to be based entirely on a renewal of our values and the values that make Hawaii what it is and what it will be in time to come," Abercrombie said.

"I've always believed whether it's your idea or my idea, it doesn't matter if it's an idea from Kau or Kohala, it doesn't matter, if it's a good idea, don't worry about who gets the credit," Hannemann said.

Carpenter hopes they both keep the strong, negative words to themselves.

"My pitch to them is pitch it positive no matter what, I think if anything we've learned from the contest just pau is we cannot have negativity to the extent we saw," he said.

This year's slogan is "No Na Mamo" or "For the Future Generations."

Along with trying to re-unite after that tough congressional loss, Democrats hope to attract younger generations to the party.

"Overall I think the energy is high and we look forward to moving forward into the primary and of course we have our eyes set on the general election, to help make sure the Democratic for governor, lieutenant as well as taking back congressional district one is on our agenda," Young Democrats of Hawaii vice-president Francis Choe said.

The Democrats also approved Saturday, a resolution urging Governor Lingle to make the civil unions bill a law.

Republicans took the opposite stance at their convention.

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