HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The 2018 elections are still more than a year away, but outspoken Republican lawmaker Bob McDermott is already announcing plans to challenge Governor David Ige for the job.
The 53-year old state House representative, who serves the Ewa Beach area, knows he's a heavy underdog. Still, he hopes he can convince voters that he has something Governor Ige lacks -- leadership.
"If we can get in front of enough people, with the two of us together, they will see leadership and then they will see warmed over mush, pablum, nothing -- and hopefully they'll be able to make a choice on that," McDermott said.
He says the recent rail funding debate fiasco played a major role in his decision to run for the office. He says it's embarassing state lawmakers couldn't reach a deal and shameful for Governor Ige to sit on the sidelines.
"It's the largest public works project in the state. How can you walk away or allow these people to walk away without finishing this business," he added.
As a former Marine, realtor, and father of eight, McDermott served in the State House for 10 years, where he is known for making blunt statements.
He lost a race for Congress in 2002 against Congresswoman Patsy Mink, who had died several weeks before the election.
With such a weak Republican Party in Hawaii, political analysts say McDermott's chances are slim.
"It would take an amazing Republican to win in this state and in this environment, so I think it's very unlikely," said Colin Moore, Hawaii News Now political analyst.
McDermott also supports President Donald Trump and opposed same sex marriage and the Pono Choices sex education program.
"He's not going to have any success if he continues to associate himself with Trump and if he continues to forward fairly socially conservative positions. That just doesn't resonate with the electorate here," Moore added.
If elected, McDermott says one of his first priorities would be to change how the state allocates education funding. He wants to reduce overcrowding in schools, especially in Leeward Oahu.