Former Honolulu major Mufi Hannemann is debating whether to run for governor as an independent candidate.
"If the party is certified I would seriously consider running for governor," he said.
Hannemann's supporters barely beat a deadline to submit petitions to the state office of elections asking for certification of a Hawaii Independent Party.
They estimate they collected about 2,000 signatures.
"It's a very difficult office for independent candidates to win in these major races. it's not unheard of, of course, but it's very hard," UH Manoa political science professor Colin Moore said.
Hannemann needs at least 706 signatures from active registered voters on a petition to certify a Hawaii Independent Party. The total is one-tenth of one percent of statewide registered voters from the 2012 General Election. Governor Neil Abercrombie and Sen. David Ige, both Democrats, are the only declared candidates.
"It doesn't change our strategy at all. we're focused," Ige said of his campaign. "I'm running as a Democrat. We're focused on the Democratic primary. We have a game plan and we have a strategy to be successful."
"We believe that Gov. Abercrombie's achievements will win the support of voters in both the primary and general elections," said Bill Kaneko, Abercrombie's campaign manager.
Former Lt. Governor and likely Republican candidate Duke Aiona said voters should not confuse Hannemann's politics with his.
"I think he's more similar to Gov.Abercrombie in regards to leadership style. They're both flamboyant. They're both very outspoken. Their leadership style is more top-down than my leadership style," Aiona said.
But Moore believes Aiona has the most to lose with Hannemann in the race.
"It's unlikely that Abercrombie's hardcore supporters would defect to support Hannemann. But it is more likely that people who might be inclined to vote for the Republican, if Aiona does decide to run, would also see him as a good candidate," he said.
In 1994 Frank Fasi ran for governor as an independent. He finished second to Ben Cayetano. Hannemann lost his last two races running as a Democrat.
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