As general election nears, party politics takes center stage in nonpartisan mayoral race

As general election nears, party politics takes center stage in nonpartisan mayoral race

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - As the general election nears, the candidates for Honolulu mayor are taking off the gloves ― and griping about one another’s tactics.

Two major media polls now show Rick Blangiardi with a lead in the race. The Star-Advertiser Hawaii poll put Blangiardi about 13 points ahead while a Civil Beat-HNN poll had him 20 points ahead.

Keith Amemiya is disputing those polls.

And in the home stretch to Election Day, he’s trying to woo undecided voters in the nonpartisan race by linking Blangiardi to President Donald Trump.

In a new attack ad, Amemiya plays an interview in which Blangiardi says he voted for Trump in 2016.

Speaking to Hawaii News Now on Monday, Blangiardi said he didn’t support Hillary Clinton four years ago and felt Trump was the “better of the two candidates” in the election.

“I think a lot of his policies, despite his personal antics, have been effective," Blangiardi said, of Trump.

Blangiardi added that he’s voted for both Democrats and Republicans and that he disagrees with Trump on everything from masks to climate change to civil rights.

On the Amemiya camp’s attack ad, Blangiardi said, “When you see people trying to hurt you in any way they can and actually lie as well and do it in covert ways online, it gets pretty disturbing."

In tying Blangiardi to Trump and the Republican Party, Amemiya has also sought to align himself with the Democratic Party. He says he believes Blangiardi demonstrates a “top down” leadership style.

“I wanted to make clear to people that I am a Democrat. That I share many of the values of the Democratic Party,” Amemiya said.

“I’m not saying he’s dangerous, but it’s dangerous for city government to have those types of traits and if you are not mindful of them and not careful as to who you elect, you run into a lot of trouble."

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