Congressional fireworks: Democratic opponents square off in debate

Former state Senator Jill Tokuda and state Representative Patrick Branco squared off over gun control and dark campaign money.
Published: Aug. 3, 2022 at 4:43 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Democratic contenders in the second Congressional District race squared off Wednesday in an online debate.

In the Honolulu Star-Advertiser Spotlight discussion, former state Sen. Jill Tokuda accused her primary election opponent ― state Rep. Patrick Branco ― of providing a road map for special interest to attack her.

TV ads have suggested she is pro-guns.

“All of these hit pieces that have been out against me, quite frankly, I’ve been devastated by them. I have never wooed and asked for their support nor have I ever supported the NRA,” Tokuda said. “Let’s talk about the fact that over $1 million in Super PAC, dark money from the mainland has come in to support you.”

Branco shot back:

“She’s trying to push a false and harmful narrative to score cheap political points.”

Hawaii congressional candidate accused of using ‘shameless’ tactic to woo dark money ads

“I’m the son of a teenage mom and a dad who dropped out of high school. We were on welfare while I was growing up. Do you really think I am someone who has the power to direct faceless millionaires on what to do with their money?”

Despite the heated rhetoric, the two opponents had similar views on big issues like improving Hawaii’s high cost of living, diversifying the state’s economy and a protecting a woman’s right to an abortion.

“Our state Legislature is gonna have to double down on our protections to make sure that access remains very clear for reproductive care here in Hawaii,” said Tokuda.

Added Branco:

“We need to codify Roe vs. Wade and we need to pass the Woman’s Health Protection Act. Now our country has slipped back about 67 years. And that that’s scary,” he said.

The primary election will be held on Aug. 13.

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