Republican caucus showed Trump least popular on Oahu, most liked on Big Isle

Republican caucus showed Trump least popular on Oahu, most liked on Big Isle

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Oahu voters liked Donald Trump the least but Big Island voters gave him the highest margin of victory in the Tuesday's Republican presidential caucus, according to precinct numbers released by the state Republican Party.

Trump won Oahu with a six-percent margin, followed by Kauai with a seven-point lead.

Trump was far more popular in Maui County, where he beat U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz by 19 percentage points and Trump was most popular on Hawaii Island, where he won by a 20-point margin, according to votes tallied by the Hawaii GOP.

Statewide, Trump beat Cruz by 10 percentage points in spite of Cruz being endorsed by several elected Hawaii Republicans, such as State Sen. Sam Slom.

"I think it shows that many of us are out of touch.  That's why I try to spend as much of my time as I can at Costco or Longs or restaurants and talk to people," Slom said.

Slom said establishment Republicans' public criticism of Trump here played right into his hands.

"The more they attacked him, the stronger that he got. And I don't know what happened to Ronald Reagan's 11th commandment and the big-tent theory and all of this. And we were supposed to be together," Slom said.

Former State Rep. Richard Fale is with the campaign of Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who finished third in the Hawaii caucuses.

"There's a real sense of betrayal that people feel and a real sense that something really drastic has to be done and I think, maybe Donald comes across as the most drastic candidate," Fale said.

Trump beat other campaigns that spent thousands of dollars and radio and television commercials, as well as developing email, Facebook and other social media campaigns.  Trump's campaign spent little if any money in Hawaii.

Nathan Paikai, one of the leaders of the Hawaii Trump Campaign, explained Trump's island victory this way: "They're tired of the establishment, they're tired of the in-house fighting, they're tired of not getting what they have been promised from the elected officials here in the state of Hawaii."

Former Hawaii U.S. Rep. Charles Djou, a backer of Ohio Gov. John Kasich, criticized Trump on television and in print before Tuesday's vote.

Asked to explain the margin of Trump's victory in Hawaii, Djou said, "I have no idea."

There is a "major realignment in politics and Hawaii is not immune from it," Djou added.  "Clearly people are frustrated with government and they're backing the person who's perceived as being the 'most outside' of government."

Republicans spent Wednesday counting about 2,000 provisional ballots cast by people who were not in their correct polling places.  It's a process that's expected to take two days, with a final vote tally coming on Friday.

About 15,000 people voted in Tuesday's caucus, which is about a 50 percent increase from the last presidential caucus in 2012 and a new record.

The Hawaii GOP's Executive Director, Marcia Tagavilla, said the party will benefit from the big turnout.

"I'm seeing a bunch of people registering for the first time.  So it's exciting for the party because we're getting new Republicans registered.  We're also getting new registered voters. So people haven't ever gotten involved in this process, and now they are," Tagavilla said.

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