Race for lieutenant governor gets more crowded, while congressional race remains quiet

Race for Lieutenant Governor gets more crowded, while congressional race remains quiet
Published: Oct. 25, 2017 at 6:06 PM HST|Updated: Oct. 26, 2017 at 10:34 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Add another name to the list of Hawaii politicians vying to be lieutenant governor.

Kauai Mayor Bernard Carvalho announced his candidacy Wednesday at the state Capitol building.

Following rumors he was running for governor, Carvalho says he decided to go for LG because he believes it is the best fit for him and his family at this time.

"Yes, everybody was pushing me to look at different opportunities, but this is the decision my wife and I made together at the table. Family first and then everything after, so I feel strongly this is the path we need to take," Carvalho said.

The 56-year-old father of three has more than 30 years of public service experience, including 17 years in county government.

He was elected to finish the term of then mayor Bryan Baptiste who died in office back in 2008. He won his first full term as mayor in 2010 and was re-elected in 2014.

Four other high profile candidates have already announced their plans to run: State Sen. Josh Green, state Sen. Will Espero, Mayor Alan Arakawa and state Sen. Jill Tokuda.

"We're gonna run strong, we're gonna run respectful, do the right thing, and we're going to engage with the community. I want to hear what they wanna say. And then we'll bring everything together and shift it where it needs to go to make things happen. Action with Aloha," Carvalho said.

Current Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui doesn't plan to run for re-election (and he's said he doesn't plan to run for mayor of Maui, either).

Why are so many vying for the LG post, especially when it's been lampooned as a title with little real power?

"It has next to no constitutional responsibilities," political commentator Dan Boylan has said. "You get a car. You got a big office. You have a staff."

But former Gov. Ben Cayetano disagrees.

"It all depends on the person, what you make of it," he said. "And if you have the support of the governor you can do some good things."

While the LG race is packed, the race for an open seat in Congress is unusually quiet.

So far, Maui Rep. Kaniela Ing is the only one who says he's thinking about running for Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa's House seat.

Political analysts believe other potential candidates may be waiting to see if Hawaii Attorney General Doug Chin launches a campaign.

"At this stage, it is a bit of a mystery and really I can only surmise that there's a lot of candidates who think they couldn't beat Doug Chin and they assume he's going to run," said political analyst Colin Moore.

Moore says Chin would be a popular candidate who has made a name for himself by standing up to President Donald Trump.

Chin did not respond to a request for comment.

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