HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The feisty race for governor is on.
11 people are running, including the Democratic heavyweights Neil Abercrombie and Mufi Hannemann, who resigned as Honolulu Mayor on Tuesday.
That means no more political tap dancing.
Now that Hannemann is officially in the ring, his top rivals, former Congressman Abercrombie and Lieutenant Governor Duke Aiona say they can finally wage a full-on battle for the governor's seat.
It was an emotional goodbye for Honolulu's mayor at Honolulu Hale.
"It just so hard to leave this place," said Hannemann.
But Hannemann quickly went into campaign mode.
"There's a lot of difference between Neil Abercrombie and yours truly," said Hannemann.
The jabs came quick over Hannemann's stepping down mid-term.
"Its not going to cost the tax payers nearly a million dollars as occurred when Neil Abercrombie stepped down," said Hannemann.
"I don't know where you get the million dollar figure, that's something that's been promoted by Mr. Hannemann," said Abercrombie.
Hannemann says his upper hand is CEO experience.
First on his budget to-do's is an audit on state spending.
"That doesn't sound like a very confident CEO if you have to conduct an audit, in other words another study," said Abercrombie.
"By the time you have an audit completed, it'll probably be not next year, but the following year, so Mufi is obviously naive in regards to that," said Aiona.
Republican front runner Aiona says his strength is budget experience as Lieutenant Governor.
"We don't have to learn on the job whereas Mufi and Neil will have to learn, you know, they're going to have to get on the job training, and we don't need that right now," said Aiona.
Abercrombie touts his ability to snatch and maximize federal dollars for the state, through his ties to Washington, D.C.
"All the connections and relationships that I have from the President to the Congress to the Legislature," said Abercrombie.
Recent polls show Democrats likely to take back the governor's office.
Abercrombie has the slight lead over Hannemann.
Hoping to pass her seat to Aiona, the current governor rallied a crowd at the Republican headquarters in Kakaako, while Abercrombie and Hannemann supporters hit the streets a sign-waving push, just in time for rush-hour.
It's signs of the times and something we'll be seeing a lot more of into the Fall.
Hannemann and Abercrombie will face off in the Democratic Primary in September.
The winner will likely face Republican Aiona in November's general election.