Voters: Honolulu's ho-hum mayoral race lacks big issues, personalities

Voters, analysts say mayoral race lacks buzz
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Just 1,500 votes divided Mayor Kirk Caldwell and Charles Djou in last month's primary and the general election is expected to be close as well.

But some residents say there's very little buzz about the race.

"Where's all the TV ads? I don't know, where's all the talk? Nobody's talking about any of it. Maybe it's because both candidates are whatever," said Makaha resident Joe Edwards.

Added Marissa Akui of Kapolei: "I don't know who's running. There hasn't been talk in my circles of who's running," she said.

Sign wavers -- a sure indicator that we're in an election season -- are rare these days. Political ad spending is also down.

Political analyst Dan Boylan has been covering mayoral elections for nearly four decades. He said he's never seen such a low-volume race.

"You don't have issues that are grabbing people, then I don't think you have much of a race," he said.

"You don't have personalities in Mayor Caldwell and Charles Djou that grab you. They're not Frank Fasi."

The biggest issue is rail. Caldwell is the project's biggest backer and Djou a big critic.

But that topic lost much of its controversy after the federal government told the city it would have to build all the way to Ala Moana Center or lose federal funding.

"It's boring. It's a very boring race," said University of Hawaii Political Science Professor Colin Moore. "The only real issue was rail and that's off the table."

He added, "This sort of low-volume race favors the incumbent."

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