Ex-Republican Beth Fukumoto Wants to Be Hawai‘i’s Next Democratic Congresswoman

Mililani’s Beth Fukumoto earlier criticized President Donald Trump and left Hawai‘i GOP.

State Rep. Beth Fukumoto this week emailed voters and announced on social media that she will run for Congress in urban Honolulu.


Fukumoto garnered nationwide attention last year when she announced she was leaving the Republican party after her participation in the Hawai‘i Women’s March drew sharp criticism from GOP colleagues.

Beth Fukumoto
Photo: Aaron K. Yoshino


SEE ALSO: Quote Unquote: Why Hawai‘i Rep. Beth Fukumoto Left the State GOP


In an email to supporters, Fukumoto said, “Your support has inspired me to find ways to amplify new voices, to fight against the status quo, and to push back against the establishment to build a better future for Hawai‘i.” 


She joins an already crowded race that includes veteran lawmaker Donna Mercado Kim and Lt. Gov. Doug Chin as the frontrunners in a recent Honolulu Star-Advertiser Hawai‘i poll. (Honolulu City Council Chairman Ernie Martin and state Rep. Kaniela Ing trailed in that survey.)


Chin has gained a nationwide profile for his filing lawsuits against Trump’s immigration policies.


SEE ALSO: Quote Unquote: Why Hawai‘i Attorney General Doug Chin Blocked the Travel Ban


Fukumoto wrote, “I’m running because my family, like yours, knows what it’s like to struggle to make a living, to own a home, and to plan a future in a state that gets more expensive every year. We need leaders who understand the changing needs of O‘ahu’s working families and have demonstrated success in addressing them.”


Elected to the Hawai‘i House of Representatives in 2012, Fukumoto was the Republican minority leader until she was stripped of that title in response to her criticism of President Donald Trump at the Hawai‘i Women’s March.


She cited racism, sexism and differences in values when she left the Republican Party. After a lengthy vetting process, the Democratic Party of Hawai‘i agreed to welcome her as a member of the party.


Chin is hoping to join other former lieutenant governors of Hawai‘i who got elected to higher office after serving in the state’s No. 2 job.


SEE ALSO: It’s Official: Former Hawai‘i Attorney General Doug Chin is Now Lt. Governor


He took the job after former Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui quit the job to work for a private public affairs consultant firm.


SEE ALSO: Hawai‘i Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui Announces Resignation from State Government


This week, Tsutsui announced he is supporting U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa and leading her Maui campaign efforts rather than back his former boss, Gov. David Ige, in his bid for re-election.


Read More Stories by Robbie Dingeman