RNC chair Steele hopes to rally Hawaii republicans with visit

Lynn Finnegan
Lynn Finnegan
Jonah Kaauwai
Jonah Kaauwai
Michael Steele
Michael Steele

By Duane Shimogawa - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Rounding up the troops.

With less than two months to go before the general election, the Hawaii Republican Party is bringing in the big guns to boost its popularity amongst voters and to raise some cash at a rally at the Aloha Tower Marketplace on Sunday.

It's being called Countdown to Victory: 58 days to go and it's being highlighted by Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele. All proceeds from this event go directly to help out this year's candidates.

From 40 bucks to 200 big ones, the Hawaii Republican Party is giving a boost to its candidates, as many take part in uphill battles come this November.

RNC chairman Steele is back in the islands, after hosting the GOP's National Committee meeting here in late January.

It's part of his Delaware to Hawaii initiative, where he's planning to rally up republicans in each of the 50 states.

"We have paid a lot of attention to Hawaii and our territories because they're very part of this overall re-emergence of the party," Steele said.

It's been a bittersweet ride so far this political season for Hawaii Republicans. The Charles Djou special election congressional win being the high, and the low being the recent spat between gubernatorial candidate Duke Aiona and HRP chairman Jonah Kaauwai, who called Aiona the only righteous candidate in the race in a letter to some within the Christian community and saying a vote for democratic opponents Mufi Hannemann or Neil Abercrombie is "succumbing to fear and advancing unrighteousness."

Aiona quickly responded, calling Kaauwai's comments "divisive."

"The letter was sent out to specific and meant for specific people within the Christian community, it's taken its news cycle, it is what it is and we're moving forward," Kaauwai said.

Kaauwai even received national attention for his comments. MSNBC's Keith Olbermann named Kaauwai the world's worst person of the day on Wednesday.

But riding the wave, perhaps from the Djou election, Hawaii republicans have shown a renewed interest in their party.

"There's a new brand of all ages, all ethnicities, all cultures, coming together to stand up for these values that we hold true, it's just an exciting time for us," Lieutenant gubernatorial candidate Lynn Finnegan said.

A shining example comes from the record number of candidates that have nearly every election spot filled with a GOP candidate squaring off against a democrat.

But the state's republicans still face tough tests come this November. That's why they're hoping events like Sunday's, will help them unite and balance Hawaii's political scene.

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