Lingle, Hawaii GOP celebrate Trump's upcoming inauguration

Published: Jan. 5, 2017 at 3:19 AM HST|Updated: Jan. 5, 2017 at 5:58 AM HST
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KANEOHE, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Some 300 people gathered in Kaneohe to celebrate the upcoming presidency of Donald J. Trump.

The Hawaii Republican Party's Pre-Inauguration Gala also drew former Gov. Linda Lingle, who was the featured speaker at the event.

"Well, we're here tonight to celebrate the election of President-elect Donald J. Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence," Lingle said, drawing a loud chorus of cheers and applause at Wednesday night's gathering at the Koolau Ballroom.

The former Hawaii governor and Hawaii GOP chair flew in from Illinois, where she most recently worked for the governor there. She firmly threw herself behind Trump.

"He understood and he reflected the feelings of millions of Americans whose beliefs were increasingly put down and who had been let down by the establish in both political parties," Lingle said.

Even though Trump lost in Hawaii, he still drew nearly 130,000 votes.

Locally, there are just six Republicans in the state House, and none in the Senate. The Hawaii GOP hopes that having Republican majorities in Congress and a Republican in the White House will mean more GOP lawmakers at the local level.

"It can, but it's going to take work on our part," said current Hawaii Republican Party Chairman Fritz Rohlfing. "It doesn't just fall in your lap."

"I think there will be more candidates, there will be more opportunities to get involved," said state Rep. Bob McDermott (D-Ewa, Ewa Beach).

Lingle pointed out that the election doesn't bode well for Hawaii's all-Democrat congressional delegation.

"Not a good situation, when the president is a Republican and both houses of Congress are Republicans," she said.

For Trump supporters, it was a night to be exuberant.

"If you look, they're coming from all walks of life," said Nathan Paikai. "They're not just Republicans. They're people. Democrats are here. Developers are here. People who just want to help people."

Lingle resigned from her post in Illinois and plans to move back to Hawaii in April. But she said while she will help other candidates, she has no plans to run for office in the future.

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