Aloha Hawaii Republicans:
This year, 2015, Republicans find themselves belonging to one of two groups: those who have had enough of our party’s liberal direction under faux Republican control, and those, for one false reason/hope or another, want to keep the current leadership.
For members of the first group, there is some good news to report straight from caucuses, but let us give some background first.
Under our state party’s rules, the first step in picking new party leaders comes several weeks after the general election. That’s when rank and file members gather in caucuses around the state to elect a district chair to represent each of 51 state house districts on the ‘state committee’ of HRP. This is the committee which could (if it finally decided to) take the reins of power from the failed party executive officers and set things right with policies that would put HRP back in the year-round communications, statewide organizing, and bottom-to-top campaign business rather than simply acting merely as an election year resource and bank account for selected “favorites” every two years.
Knowing that their hold on power was getting weaker, party leaders did absolutely everything they could over the past few weeks since the 2014 debacle at the ballot box to influence the outcome of these caucuses. Their goal? To eliminate any conservative representation on the state committee and replace reform-minded Republicans with loyal liberals as district chairs who would promise to rubber stamp the misguided and selfish agenda that has driven our party to near extinction. Fortunately, their bid for continued and unchecked power turned out to be a losing gambit.
So here comes the good news. Below are some highlights of some island conservatives beating back the liberals in hotly contested races for district chairmanships statewide.
A Long-Standing District Chair DISPLACED
(House District 42 – Kapolei)
One of HIRA’s chief complaints about HRP leadership is their neutral or silent position on all issues in Hawaii. That’s no accident as our infamous “LLIFE” platform was specifically written in 2010 to let liberal Republican candidates take liberal positions on issues with no risk of being seen as phony Republicans. One of the architects of our party’s LLIFE neutrality, Peter Kay, has since joined the Democrat Party where he belongs. The other is a former state representative in Kapolei: Mark Moses.
For more years than we can remember, Moses (or his wife) has been the district chair for Kapolei, but on February 7, Mark Moses couldn’t help but watch his candidacy for re-election go down in flames. The singular matter of our party having no principles and zero stands on issues was placed firmly at Moses’ feet during the caucus meeting at the Barbers Point Elementary School cafeteria. After careful consideration, the repudiation of Moses’ liberal philosophy and his unconditional embrace of the failed direction of HRP was his undoing. Party neutrality in the face of 60 years of failed Democrat policies was no longer fashionable in West Oahu. Congratulations to Jame Schadel for stepping up and winning the District 42 chairmanship.
[Interestingly, supporters of the party’s liberal establishment (including some high profile candidates) used their e-mail lists to try to get their supporters to the caucuses so that liberals didn’t lose too badly at these party elections. However, these same candidates (Charles Djou, Duke Aiona, etc.) were ‘no-shows’ themselves at the very caucuses they said were so important to participate in.]
(House Districts 48, 49, and 50)
Longtime friend of Democrats and liberal causes (including voting to create the Obamacare Exchange in Hawaii as well as sponsoring a new bill at this year's legislature to force children to be enrolled in the far left's twisted "Pono Choices" sex education curriculum), state representative Cynthia Thielen, pulled out all the stops to keep a genuine conservative from becoming the Republican Party’s district leader on the Windward side. In 2014, Thielen narrowly kept her seat after Joan Hood heroically took on the liberal icon in the 2014 Republican primary. In 2015, Thielen turned the district chair race into a proxy campaign by feverishly working her rolodex to keep Ms. Hood from getting elected district chair for house district 50. In fact, Thielen was burning up the wireless connection of her cell phone right up until the final vote was counted and recounted, three times, in hopes of luring more of her supporters down to the caucus site to change the outcome. But, despite all of Theilen’s connections and despite all of her constituent and party heavyweight Miriam Hellreich’s contacts on the Windward side, conservative Joan Hood emerged the winner at the caucus. Now, despite Thielen (pictured here with her liberal Democrat daughter, state senator Laura Thielen) and her liberal friends reportedly being very, very upset about the results, Joan Hood can begin vigorously representing real Republicans from Windward Oahu on the state committee, where she will undoubtedly fight for year-round action and quantifiable results from HRP.
MORE GOOD NEWS . . . Joan Hood won’t be alone in representing the Windward side on HRP's 'state committee'. Eldean Kukahiko will be chair in district 48 and Lola Kolau in district 49. Congratulations to both of them!!
MAJOR CHALLENGE THWARTED
(House District 18 - Hawaii Kai)
Marian Grey (pictured here with her husband Jim) is a longtime, outspoken critic of the liberal leadership of HRP. She has also been a current member of the state committee where her strong and well-reasoned opinions about our state party’s corrupt finances, misguided strategy, sleight-of-hand meetings, rule-breaking, officer malfeasance, and much more made Grey a target of party insiders at the 2015 caucus. After a contentious election, Marian Grey retained her chair position in district 18. However, after losing to Ms. Grey, the challenger has threatened a formal protest of the caucus election results to party headquarters, just like Al Gore’s legal team tried to keep George W. Bush from becoming president in 2000. Stay tuned!
MORE CONSERVATIVES GAINED STATEWIDE
Additional conservative Republicans have retained or gained their district chair position:
District 33 – Charlotte Ahlf
District 34 – Jaci Augustin
District 36 – Rita Kima-Kimura
District 37 – Mary Smart
District 40 – Tito Montes
District 41 – Brett Kulbis
District 46 – Scott Noltie
[Please let us know if we missed any real Republicans who
were elected to party posts during the past couple of weeks.]
Many Republicans understandably lack enthusiasm following elections in which Democrats handily won most elections. The election years 2010, 2012, and 2014 gave few island Republicans hope that anything can change.
But things really can change if our party is allowed to make a strong, compelling case to Hawaii voters all across the state. That's something which will only happen once faux Republicans are no longer controlling our party.
There is still a LOT of work to do. But in 2015 conservatives have begun to make inroads in determining a new and improved direction for our floundering party in Hawaii. We're not there yet, but the recent round of district caucuses have shown that conservatives can beat liberals when push comes to shove. And it DID come to shove on caucus night. It’s about time!
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