Believe it or not, race to replace Gov. Ige is already taking shape

Updated: Aug. 15, 2019 at 5:51 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Gov. David Ige has more than three years left in his second term as governor, but the race to replace him seems to already be taking shape.

Two high-profile candidates are already raising money for the election, which takes place in 2022.

Republican Andria Tupola says she's all in.

The former House minority leader says her campaign was revived shortly after she lost by more than 100,000 votes to Ige in the November general election last year.

“I just let it go,” said Tupola. “I was like, ‘This is day one. This is not the end. This is day one.’”

Between finishing her doctoral degree and running her own community foundation, Tupola says she spends about 30 hours a week on the campaign trail.

She says she’s re-energized and focused on fundraising and voter outreach statewide.

“I really want my campaign to feel and look different so that people know that I really took to heart what I learned last year and what I’m going to be better so I can better prepare to be the governor of Hawaii,” she said.

Meanwhile, Lt. Gov. Josh Green says he’s thinking about a run for governor, but is happy with his current job.

"Right now, I'm just trying to be a great lieutenant governor," Green said. "The truth is, I will prepare month by month, year by year if the governorship is right for my family and, really, if I'm right for the people."

The emergency room doctor and former state senator recently filed paperwork with the State Campaign Spending Commission for a San Francisco fundraiser this week.

When the document asked what office he’s seeking, he listed governor.

"It wasn't so much a fundraiser as it was a meet-and-greet. I've always been a person that gets prepared for any possibility," he said.

Colin Moore, Hawaii News Now's political analyst, says both candidates are solid, but have challenges to overcome.

“The disadvantage (for Green) of course is it looks like you’re not actually doing the job of a lieutenant governor. You’re just running for governor in three years," he said.

“And I think (Andria) is an excellent Republican candidate. The trouble is she’s a Republican in a place where there aren’t a whole lot of Republicans.”

Moore expects a lot of interest in this race, especially on the Democratic side, so he says for candidates to make their intentions known early ― even this early ― doesn’t hurt.

"The advantage is you scare away potential competitors. If they know you're doing it for sure, if they see you're raising a lot of money, you get those donors early on, you get supporters early on," Moore said.

Other potential candidates being talked about are State Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell, and former State Sen. Jill Tokuda.

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