On crowded debate stage, LG candidates looked for opportunities to shine

The Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement hosted the debate in Waikiki, and the leading Democratic candidates for governor were the first to take the stage.
Published: Jul. 21, 2022 at 1:27 PM HST|Updated: Jul. 22, 2022 at 7:06 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The leading Democratic candidates for lieutenant governor Thursday were hoping their debate stage performances translated into name recognition ― and votes in the primary election.

During the debate, the candidates were shooting arrows from the podium.

But they also looked for opportunities to share their personal sides.

Former state lawmaker Sylvia Luke talked about the struggles she had after immigrating to the United States from Korea as a child and learning English with the help from her dad.

Former City Councilmember Ikaika Anderson touched on the struggles of being a single father.


“There is no playbook to follow,” he said.

The latest Civil Beat/HNN poll found that nearly half of Democratic primary voters are still undecided when it comes to the race for lieutenant governor.

Luke was the frontrunner in that poll, with 20% of the vote. Anderson was in second with 14%, while Keith Amemiya and Sherry Menor-McNamara rounded out the top four.

Civil Beat Politics and Opinion Editor Chad Blair said Luke might have an edge in the election.

“She’s been running a lot of TV commercials. I see her campaign signs more than just about anybody else’s around town,” Blair said. “It seems like she’s on every street corner. Name recognition is a big factor.”

But he added that Anderson’s debate performance was strong.

The window for the other candidates to make their mark is running out.

While the primary election in the islands isn’t until Aug. 13, Hawaii’s mail-in election system means the vast majority of voters will be casting their votes much earlier. Ballots are to arrive in mailboxes by July 26.

The top vote-getter in the Democratic race will head into the general election.

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