Hawaii Republican Party disavows controversial U.S. House candidate

Hawaii Republican Party disavows controversial U.S. House candidate
Published: Aug. 20, 2016 at 9:24 PM HST|Updated: Aug. 20, 2016 at 10:56 PM HST
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(image: Facebook/edited by: Hawaii News Now)
(image: Facebook/edited by: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Hawaii Republican Party has disavowed a controversial Congressional candidate who has posted racist and vulgar attacks online.

Candidate Angela Kaaihue is running against incumbent U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii.

In the primary election, she got nearly 7,500 votes to best her Republican challenger and proceed to the general election.

Earlier this year, the candidate garnered attention for her distasteful campaign signs.

Now, she's under fire for offensive, vulgar and racist social media posts.

Kaaihue doesn't deny posting the incendiary comments, including toward Japanese people. In an interview with Hawaii News Now, she did apologize, but also seemed to justify her posts.

"I truly regret posting that about Japanese people. I don't think all Japanese people are bad, I just think that the non-Christian Japanese people," Kaaihue said in a phone interview.

The recent rant calling Japanese people "conspirators, stealers and liars" has infuriated various residents, especially those in the Japanese community.

"The language is one thing because it's so vulgar and just showing how much hate and spite she has toward a group of people," said Waipahu resident Kevie Kawasaki.

"I'm a very strong advocate and very educated in the internment camps and the history that Japanese Americans do have in Hawaii and in the United States. So it's really offensive to say that somebody would actually want to do that again, to put people back in internment camps," Kawasaki said.

In June, Kaaihue's campaign signs spurred fury in the community. She had previously said she was running for the seat occupied by late U.S. Rep. Mark Takai, who later lost his battle with pancreatic cancer. Her signs proclaimed she was "healthy and cancer free."

Hawaii Republican Party Chair Fritz Rohlfing said in a statement Friday Kaaihue's comments "do not represent the views, values, or the sentiments of our Party and its members."

"Her vulgar, racially-bigoted, and religiously-intolerant descriptions of Democratic Party candidates are offensive, shameful, and unacceptable in public discourse. I unconditionally denounce her despicable statements. I strongly urge all Hawaii Republicans to join me in disavowing her candidacy."

Kaaihue says she doesn't care what the republican chair says about her.

"Well he's nobody, that's what he is. He's a nobody, and he should be replaced, that's what I think," said Kaaihue.

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