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James “Duke” Aiona Reacts to Losing Hawai‘i Governor’s Race

The Republican candidate reflects on his loss to David Ige in the Hawai‘i governor’s race.


A KITV reporter interviews Dawn O’Brien, press secretary of James “Duke” Aiona.

Photo: Courtesy Duke Aiona

As it became clear Democratic state Sen. David Ige would win the Hawai‘i governor’s race Tuesday night, Republican supporters of James “Duke” Aiona did not seem rattled. In fact, shortly after the third printout of results, Aiona’s supporters inside the Dole Cannery Ballroom partied as if they had won despite Aiona trailing by 12.5 percentage points (click here to see the final results).

Aiona and lieutenant governor candidate Elwin Ahu danced to upbeat music, while supporters clapped and cheered them on. After the supporters and news crews departed, we caught up with Aiona in a private room surrounded by a small group of close friends and family. 


How are you feeling tonight? 

Obviously, I’m disappointed. We didn’t get the result that we wanted. Other than that, I feel very happy with the campaign and the supporters we had. Like I said in there, they inspired me today and I won’t forget that. 


Any advice for Ige?

Obviously, he and I have differences in regards to many different things. I just wish him the best and I hope that he succeeds in making Hawaii much more transparent in turning us, really, in a new direction. We can’t have more taxes. We can’t have more government spending and I hope he’ll grow the economy. I hope that he’ll take some of my ideas, especially my Hope program and some of the ideas I had with homelessness and of course, education. I will be supportive as much as I can, but at the same time I know what our platform was. I believe we had a strong platform. We have strong principles and strong values. And we will continue to stand for that. 


Do you know why the results turned out this way? 

There are many factors. Everybody is going to have their two cents in that. And there is probably some truth to all of the above. But when it comes down to it, we just didn’t get enough votes—that’s the bottom line. 


What’s your plan after this? 

I firmly believe that my plan is to mentor young men and women. And I look forward to working with the next generation and making it better. 


What about your plans after tonight? 

Tonight? Go home and sleep. *laughs* 


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Honolulu Magazine May 2018
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