Religion brought into negative political ad for governor

Dennis Arakaki
Dennis Arakaki
Dylan Nonaka
Dylan Nonaka
Neil Abercrombie
Neil Abercrombie

By Tim Sakahara - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The fight to be the next governor is involving religion.  Mufi Hannemann supporters are accused of negative campaigning and trying to sway republican voters.  The organization Island Values was formed two weeks ago and it's gone on the offensive targeting Neil Abercrombie's religious beliefs.

"In every election there are acceptable and unacceptable candidates. Neil Abercrombie is unacceptable. He declares no religious affiliation. In Congress he voted for partial birth abortion, and human cloning and it's no secret he will enact same sex marriage. Unacceptable," said Dennis Arakaki, the former leader of the Hawaii Family Forum.

The radio ad is playing on two Christian radio stations.  Arakaki and Hawaii Family Forum adamantly oppose to civil unions, so much so he calls on Republicans to pull a Democratic ballot and vote for Hannemann.

"The other acceptable Christian candidate is Duke Aiona who will easily win the Republican primary. Christians can make a difference now by voting in the democratic primary and stopping the unacceptable candidate Neil Abercrombie. Please pull a democratic ballot and vote for the acceptable candidate Mufi Hannemann," said Arakaki, in the ad.

There's also a flyer that says Abercrombie mocks the faith based community and lists issues he voted against.  The ad and flyer were paid for by a new group called Island Values without approval and authority of any candidate.  But republicans don't buy it.

"I think it's an act of desperation on the part of Mufi Hannemann and his supporters obviously knowing they are behind amongst democrat primary voters they're trying to convince republicans to vote for him, it's a pattern of deception and misrepresentation," said Dylan Nonaka, Hawaii Republican Party Executive Director.  "It's Mufi Hannemann's M.O. it's what he's been doing all along and it gives us even more reason to believe his people are behind it."

Island Values deputy treasurer is Kenneth Wong, who is a Hannemann campaign supporter and volunteer.  As of September 1, Ken Wong's name was on the Hannemann Committee Members list, but now his name is missing.  A Hannemann spokesperson says they removed Wong's name from their website to avoid confusion about his role in the campaign.

A campaign spokesman says Abercrombie is an Episcopalian.  And in a recorded statement Abercrombie denounces the latest attack by Hannemann supporters.

"This time he is using religion to attempt to divide us, to attack my integrity and character. I will repeat: this is not what a governor does.  This is not what someone running for governor should be doing. The first time he did it, I said I was calling him on it. Now that he is doing it again, I'm asking you the voters to call him on it."

"It has come to my attention that there is a flyer circulating in the community which takes issue with Neil Abercrombie.  The piece paints a harsh picture of his congressional voting record on issues of faith and religion. Legitimate issues deserve full and thorough discussion and evaluation, and the tenor and tone of this flyer do not encourage that. I have asked that any and all supporters of our campaign who receive this material do not distribute it."

Island Values leaders did not return phone calls.

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