Mufi Hannemann ‘shakes things up’ by entering crowded race for Honolulu’s mayor

Updated: Jun. 1, 2020 at 5:42 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Mufi Hannemann is vying for his old job at Honolulu Hale.

The former Honolulu mayor filed papers for the mayor election Monday, saying that a poll last week showing a large portion of voters are undecided convinced him to throw his hat in the ring.

“I’m ready to come back a third time, three-peat,” he said.

Hannemann was Honolulu’s mayor from 2005 to 2010 when he left to run unsuccessfully for governor. He’s currently the president of the Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association, and is running on a platform of experience, jobs and safe tourism.

"We need to bring tourism back in a healthy manner because everything pivots around tourism. If tourism doesn't comes back responsibly, we are going to continue to have food lines," he said.

City Councilwoman Kym Pine also filed for mayor Monday and took aim at Hannemann. “He represents COVID-19 coming here. He wants more and more and more outsiders coming here,” said Pine.

“Mufi Hannemann represents the failure of the rail system that we are still paying for today,” she added.

Former Hawaii News Now General Manager Rick Blangiardi and Realtor Choon James also filed for mayor Monday.

Last week's poll showed Blangiardi on top at 21%, followed by Colleen Hanabusa at 15%, Keith Amemiya at 10%, Pine at 9% and James at 3%.

“I’m just happy that we’ve had a good field of candidates. I can learn from all of them and I welcome the opportunity to campaign for mayor,” said Blangiardi.

"Mufi and I have been on the opposite side for a very, very long time," said James.

HNN’s political analyst Colin Moore says it’ll be a tough climb for Hannemann because of controversies tied to his years as mayor, but he’s well-known and his entry stirs things up in a crowded field.

"It shakes things up once again in what was already sort of a wild race," said Moore.

The filing deadline is Tuesday.

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