KAILUA (HawaiiNewsNow) – With this year's primary election just five weeks away, politicians and their supporters pushed the number of units in this year's Kailua Independence Day Parade to 108, an increase of 20 more than last year.
The floats, bands, and marching units made their way down Kainalu Drive in Kailua Wednesday morning for the 66th annual parade.
It seemed almost everyone at the parade was a candidate for something. Even the parade's grand marshal, Fred Hemmings, a former Republican state senator, is running to regain his old seat.
It was hard to see U.S. Sen. Dan Inouye through the six-man security detail wearing matching aloha shirts that walked alongside his car in the parade. An SUV with other security personnel followed behind the car carrying Inouye and his wife Irene Hirano.
Inouye has all the extra protection because he's the Senate's second highest-ranking member and third in line to the presidency.
Then there were the people running for the senate seat being vacated by the retiring U.S. Sen. Dan Akaka.
The Democratic establishment candidate for the Senate seat is U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono, whose campaign blasted the symbolically-appropriate Stevie Wonder song "Signed, Sealed, Delivered" as Hirono's volunteers passed out ice pops to the crowd that sweltered in the mid-morning Kailua sun.
Her Democratic Senatorial opponent Ed Case and his volunteers greeted the crowd as well.
"Happy Fourth. woo! Happy Fourth," Case shouted as he and his wife Audrey were surrounded with supporters walking along the parade route.
Republican Senatorial candidate Linda Lingle stopped and posed for a photo as her supporters marched down Kainalu Drive.
Opposing candidates never appear back-to-back in the parade. There are always several non-political units between opponents to serve as a buffer.
Honolulu mayoral candidate Ben Cayetano got applause along the parade route, no doubt from fellow opponents of the city's $5.2 billion rail transit project.
Incumbent Mayor Peter Carlisle mugged for Hawaii News Now's television camera while his volunteers danced their way down the roadway as a volunteer shouted "Pump, pump, pump it up" to pulsating music.
Mayoral candidate Kirk Caldwell was surrounded by dozens of members of a few of the unions that have endorsed him, including the United Public Workers and Hawaii Firefighters Association.
At least three solar companies sponsored units in this year's parade. There were also several veterans' units, a horseback riding pa'u unit and three bands including the city's Royal Hawaiian Band.