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Former First Lady Vicky Cayetano confirms she’s considering a run for governor

If she runs, she’s poised to face off against several established politicians.
Published: Jul. 14, 2021 at 5:23 PM HST|Updated: Jul. 15, 2021 at 4:24 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Former First Lady Vicky Cayetano has confirmed to Hawaii News Now that she’s considering a run for governor.

If she runs, she’s poised to face off against established politicians like Lt. Gov. Josh Green and former Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell ― both of whom have not formally announced runs yet, either.

In an interview with HNN, Cayetano said she’s “seriously thinking” about running for governor.

Cayetano helped Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi during his campaign, and now the commercial laundry services president is considering a run for the seat her husband once filled.

“I’ve seen my husband’s public service. I’ve been privileged to be former first lady and as a businesswoman who started her business 34 years ago. I see a lot of things that we can do and I hope to bring that lifetime career of finding solutions and working with people,” said Cayetano.

On his Facebook page Wednesday morning, former Gov. Ben Cayetano wrote:

“There will be a Cayetano running for governor ― but it’s not me. Formal announcement to be made soon.”

Vicky Cayetano told HNN that her formal announcement will likely be in one month.

HNN political analyst Colin Moore said Cayetano will be a strong candidate.

“She already had a lot of name recognition,” he said.

“She was a very liked first lady and she also has strong connections with the business community, which means she’ll be able to raise a lot of money for a campaign.”

Before Blangiardi’s win for mayor, he had considered running for governor.

“Given Vicky Cayetano’s close relationship with Blangiardi, if she is exploring a run, it’s almost certainly the case that he’s not interested in running,” said Moore.

The campaign websites Green and Caldwell say they are running for governor. They’re also holding fundraisers, traveling the state and have started campaign organizations ― without formally announcing.

“I want to run for higher office,” said Caldwell, on the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s Spotlight Hawaii.

“I’ve had some fundraisers running for governor. I’m working very hard reaching out to the community the people of Hawaii to get their support in a race for governor.”

Green, meanwhile, released this statement:

“Hawaii voters benefit from having multiple candidates to choose from as their next Governor. With the election over a year away, I remain focused on helping our State recover from the COVID crisis and building a healthier future for ourselves, our keiki and kupuna.”

It could be a crowded field as people are also hearing rumors about former presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard, US Reps. Ed Case and Kai Kahele, and Councilwoman Andria Tupola entering the race.

Based on recent polls, Green is very popular while Caldwell is less so.

But the real campaigning likely heat up until after the holidays.

Moore says Green is not a shoe-in for the governor’s seat. And with heavy hitters like Cayetano and Caldwell, he’ll have to fight for the job.

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