Unable to return home, this Hawaii candidate is managing his campaign from afar

With election just days away, nobody in town campaigning quite like Tommy Driskill

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Besides an interest in government, Tommy Driskill travels the Pacific making documentary films.

But in March, he got stuck in the Philippines by a COVID-19 quarantine order.

“We went from a totally open normal day here to a day’s notice of a complete lock down,” he said.

No one could fly in or out of the country. The rule was relaxed in May but airline seats were limited and expensive.

“It was in the thousands of dollars if you wanted to do a one-way flight out,” Driskill said.

So he decided to wait it out and that’s where his story really gets interesting.

“All of a sudden the ugly virus hit and he had to change plans,” said his father, Thomas Driskill.

Most afternoons you'll see him on Kalanianaole Highway, waving his son's election campaign signs.

Meanwhile, Driskill is still in Manila ― running for a House seat in Hawaii’s Legislature remotely.

“My dad, he is an army of one on the Hawaii front. I am an army of one on the digital front,” he said.

Driskill has had to overcome obstacles to get his long-distance campaign started, beginning with the filing of his election papers.

Hawaii’s election officials said he needed to have his election papers notarized in the Philippines. “They said, ‘We will accept the U.S. Embassy. If you can get it at the U.S. Embassy, get it back to us,’” he said.

After several attempts he finally did and sent the paperwork back to his dad. They arrived on Oahu just in time for the filing deadline.

"Even though it had to go through China and Alaska and California to get to Hawaii, it worked," Thomas Driskill said.

Despite the distance, Tommy Driskill tries to connect with voters through his “TDtravelz” YouTube channel and his “Tommy Driskill” Instagram page.

Through Zoom, he has also participated in online candidate forums.

“I am not going to let COVID-19 or anything else for that matter stop me from running,” he said.

“There is always a way, and we found a way. So I am officially running and I am on the ballot and I could not be more ecstatic about it.

Driskill lives with his family on Oahu.

If he came home now they’d all have to quarantine and his father couldn’t wave his signs. Instead, Driskill will keep tabs on how he does in next Saturday’s primary ― from 5,000 miles away.

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