Former Lt. Gov. James ‘Duke’ Aiona files papers to run for governor

James "Duke" Aiona
James "Duke" Aiona
Published: Jun. 7, 2022 at 1:02 PM HST|Updated: Jun. 7, 2022 at 1:24 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Just under the deadline to file, another Republican contender has entered the race for governor.

James “Duke” Aiona filed his nomination papers at the Office of Elections Tuesday.

Aiona is a former judge who served as Lt. Governor to Republican Governor Linda Lingle from 2002-2010. He also previously ran for the high office in 2010, when he earned the Republican nomination for governor in the primary election, but was defeated in the general by Neil Abercrombie.

Aiona turns 67 on Wednesday and filed his papers ahead of the 4:30 p.m. candidate filing deadline Tuesday.

So far he has not issued any statement to the press about his last-minute decision to run. Hawaii News Now reached out to Aiona for an interview, but was unavailable to comment this week.

He’ll be running against MMA fighter BJ Penn and Councilwoman Heidi Tsuneyoshi for the Republican nomination. There are also five other lesser-known candidates in the running.

The primary election is August 13, but voters will have their mail-in ballots delivered to their homes in late July.

It’s an important election year in Hawaii with multiple offices up for grabs. Races include the gubernatorial, Lt. Gov., U.S. Senate, the U.S. House, and the mayor of Maui and Kauai.

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