Saying he’ll offer voters a choice in November, Aiona celebrates GOP primary win for governor
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - It will be LG versus LG in the race for governor in November.
Former Lt. Gov. Duke Aiona won the Republican primary for governor on Saturday, securing his spot in the general ― and the chance to face off against Democratic gubernatorial nominee Lt. Gov. Josh Green.
Aiona was vying along with former UFC champ B.J. Penn, Heidi Tsuneyoshi and Gary Cordery.
Despite his populist message, Penn secured a distant second place in the race.
Speaking to Hawaii News Now after the results came in, Aiona called his win a “miracle.”
“We’re just so happy. This is about what we all stood for,” he said.
Aiona added the Republican Party of Hawaii will now come together to make their pitch to general election voters. “We want to have a robust two-party system,” he said.
“We have a broken moral compass. I think we’ve lost our way.”
Saturday’s election featured one of the most closely watched Republican gubernatorial primaries in years. Civil Beat/HNN polling conducted earlier in the summer suggested that Aiona was at the front of the pack ― with about a quarter of Republican registered voters saying they planned to support him.
Penn was in second place and Tsuneyoshi rounded out the top three.
Aiona entered the race late, filing his nomination papers just hours before the deadline. He insisted his decision had nothing to do with Penn potentially clinching the Republican nomination.
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Rather, he said he felt called to run.
In HNN”s Super Debate, Aiona declined to publicly criticize Penn’s lack of experience or his background, including misdemeanor arrests for DUI. Similarly, Penn said he wanted to embrace his opponents ― and his grassroots support ― and rally Republicans around a shared opposition to Democratic policies.
“I’ve learned a lot and I’m ready to share what I’ve learned with the people,” he said.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.
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