HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Honolulu mayoral candidate, Charles Djou, was endorsed by five unions in the state on Monday.
- Reggie Castanares, Plumbers and Fitters Union, Local 675
- Damien Kim, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 1186
- International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 1260
- Douglas Fulp, International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers, Local 132
- Marc Yamane, International Union of Elevator Constructors, Local 126
This is the first time Djou has received the backing of any organized labor since 2006.
The five unions supported Kirk Caldwell for mayor in 2010 and again in 2012, but the change of heart this time around comes after growing frustrations involved with the rail project.
"We did endorse Caldwell the last two times and all I can say the word for me is disappointment," said IBEW Local 1186 Leader Damien Kim. "The disappointment of what we thought was going to be happening in those years did not come into fruition at this time."
"We need to do things more transparently and what we see in Djou is fiscal accountability," said Reggie Castanares of Plumbers and Fitters Union, Local 675.
Fiscal accountability is Djou's main selling point. He has made a big promise to cap rail spending at $7 billion, which would likely prevent the City from building the full route to Ala Moana Center.
"These are not ordinary times here," said Djou. "We have got to bring this community together to fix these massive problems."
"We want to bring back the communication that was lost, the trust between the executive and legislative branch," Castanares said.
"It's very rare for them to endorse a republican, but in this case they seem to think he can really win this race," said Hawaii News Now Political Analyst Colin Moore. "So if I were Charles Djou, I'd be very pleased and if I were Kirk Caldwell, I'd be very worried."
Mayor Caldwell does have 11 endorsements so far. From police to construction groups and the state's largest union, the HGEA.
But the rail controversies have taken a toll.
"It shows the Djou Campaign has momentum and the Caldwell Campaign is losing it," said Moore.
With the rail project now a billion dollars behind budget, analysts say the Mayoral election is another chance for voters to decide the project's future.
A vote for Caldwell is a vote for finding more money and a way to build the full route.
Analysts say a vote for Djou, is a vote against Caldwell.
"Every number, every deadline, every promise made on this project has been broken," Djou said. "The people, our community, no longer trust Honolulu Hale."
The Caldwell Campaign said in a statement Monday that Caldwell has a superior track record supporting working families.