Trail Mix: Hawaii Candidates Endorsed by Hawaii Five-0 Star and Former Governors

Each week, HONOLULU Magazine’s political team compiles a mix of observations about Hawaii politics.

Gov. Abercrombie Endorsed by Hawaii Five-0 Star and Carpenters

Just in case you’re the kind of person who decides which candidate to support based on celebrity endorsements, we’ve got news for you. Daniel Dae Kim, affable star of Hawaii Five-0, announced his support for Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s re-election.

Kim, who splits his time between Hawaii, Los Angeles and New York, says his endorsement is based on the governor’s support for the film and television industry in Hawaii.

“He understands how important tourism is to our local economy and the role that shows like Hawaii Five-0 play in showcasing our beautiful islands to the world,” Kim says in a news release from the Abercrombie campaign. “The Governor’s support of Hawaii Five-0 has been integral to the show’s production, and has helped enable it to be seen in more than 200 countries around the world. I am grateful for his advocacy of our local film and television industry.”

Meanwhile, Hawaii’s largest private sector construction union, the Hawaii Regional Council of Carpenters, threw its support behind the governor. The union cites an increase in construction and infrastructure jobs for its endorsement.

Battle for the Endorsement of Former Governors in the U.S. Senate Race

Former Gov. John Waihee announced his support for U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz, who is locked in a tough primary against fellow Democrat U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa. Waihee split with the two other former Democratic governors—George Ariyoshi and Ben Cayetano—who endorsed Hanabusa last year.

In an email sent to Schatz supporters on behalf of the former governor, Waihee gave five reasons he will be voting to keep Schatz in the Senate, which included his positions on protecting Social Security and Medicare. The Schatz campaign has attempted to make entitlements for seniors a point of distinction against Hanabusa despite her continued insistence that she too supports protecting those programs.

Depending on how you look at it, Waihee’s endorsement is either late or right on time (considering the primary is now about a month away). The faces and voices of Hawaii’s former governors have been a staple in Hanabusa’s campaigns since last fall. Both Ariyoshi and Cayetano have made speeches on her behalf and the campaign has circulated web videos featuring the two.

Meanwhile, Schatz picked up the endorsement of Equality Hawaii Action Fund, one of the organizations instrumental in the marriage equality movement in Hawaii. The organization stated that Hanabusa is also a supporter for equal rights for the gay and lesbian, but it based its support on “who would step out in front, who would lead on our issues,” says Action Fund board member Kory Rosette in an email to Schatz supporters. “But we are pleased to note that both Sen. Schatz and Rep. Hanabusa are supporters of marriage equality, bullying prevention, and so many other issues that are important to us and our community.”

Abercrombie and Ige Face Off on PBS

PBS Hawaii’s Insights last week featured a relatively cordial and lively discussion (not quite a debate) between Gov. Neil Abercrombie and state Sen. David Ige.

Aside from the dueling Sig Zane aloha shirts, we were struck by how much Abercrombie and Ige agreed on issues in general, but disagreed when it came to the specifics. For example, both agreed that the development of Kakaako is a good idea," but Ige says he’s worried there isn't enough infrastructure in place to support it. Other major disagreements were over who should get the credit for the state’s economic recovery (the Legislature or the governor?) and the state’s Health Connector health insurance marketplace.

Watch a replay of the discussion here: