Hee withdraws from governor's race, citing fundraising woes

Former state Sen. Clayton Hee announces he's withdrawing from race for governor
Published: Jun. 4, 2018 at 12:32 PM HST|Updated: Jun. 4, 2018 at 5:31 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Former state Sen. Clayton Hee on Monday announced he's withdrawing as a candidate for governor, saying he couldn't outspend the other two candidates.

"We believe that both David Ige and Colleen Hanabusa will spend millions of dollars in the media blitz prior to the Primary Election on August 11th," Hee said, in a statement. "We believe our message is a clarion call for a departure of the same old same old and that rail is the biggest financial blight in the history of Hawaii, we simply cannot match the huge sums of money my opponents are prepared to spend as well as the super pacs that have formed on their behalf."

Later at a news conference, Hee said he will instead run for the crowded Lieutenant Governor's race or the state senator race for district 23, covering parts of Windward Oahu, Central Oahu and the North Shore, which he represented from 2003 to 2014.

"I believe I can still make a difference for all my supporters who have been with me since my days in the legislature," he said.

Hee's decision to drop out comes just a few days after dozens of bright yellow signs and banners were posted in several spots along Kalanianaole Highway, accusing Hee of domestic violence.

A newly-formed political action committee called Women Against Domestic Violence in Hawaii was behind the campaign against Hee. The allegations stem from 1989 divorce documents where Hee's ex wife, Lyla Berg, accused him of verbal and physical abuse.

Hee says he's not pulling out because of the old accusations and he won't endorse either Ige or Hanabusa for Governor.
"I think both candidates have good points and bad points I'll leave it at that," Hee said.

Hawaii News Now political analyst Colin Moore says Hee pulling out is good news for one of them,

Governor Ige with the First Lady at his side filed for reelection Monday and dismissed Hee's impact.

"I don't think that it would make a significant impact on the outcome of the election. We are focused on telling our stories and building our network of supporters. We are excited that more and more people are joining our campaign," said Ige.

Hanabusa issued a statement saying "We are thankful for the discussion generated by the issues he (Hee) raised."

The filing deadline is Tuesday.

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