Just as they did four years ago, the Maui Chamber of Commerce has backed former Republican Lt. Gov. James “Duke” Aiona for Hawaii Governor, according to an Aug. 22 Chamber news release. While the Chamber hasn’t yet released its report explaining why it’s backing Aiona (or anyone else, for that matter), Chamber President Pamela Tumpap gushed over Aiona four years ago in this Oct. 7, 2010 Hawaii Free Press post:
“We appreciate Duke Aiona’s strong support for small businesses, especially on the Neighbor Islands, and his plan for long-term economic recovery. He has met personally with several of our members and talked in depth on the issues we believe will grow the local economy. Time and again, Duke Aiona has proven to be a steadfast leader, advocating for small businesses and advancing fiscally responsible policies. We stand beside him, pledging our support, eager for the leadership and positive changes he will bring.”
The endorsements don’t include any candidates running for federal races–”Given Hurricane Iselle, we were unable to schedule interviews with the candidates for the Federal races, but hope to shortly,” Tumpap said in her Aug. 22 news release–and the list of Chamber-approved names that has been made public is hardly surprising. Even the Chamber’s endorsement of state Senator Roz Baker, D–6th District, isn’t too outlandish, though the Chamber declined to endorse her two years ago. Remember, fellow Democrat Terez Amato just lost a Primary challenge against Baker based largely on the incumbent’s close ties to major corporate interests.
As you’d expect, the Chamber loves incumbents, but not all incumbents. In the various Maui County races, it’s no shocker that they’re backing newcomer (and darling of the carpenters union) Ka’ala Buenconsejo over incumbent Elle Cochran in the West Maui race. What is kind of a shock is that, once again, they’re throwing their support to challenger Joe Blackburn over popular incumbent Mike Victorino in the Wailuku-Waihee-Waikapu race.
Anyway, click here for the list of Chamber endorsements.
Photo of James “Duke” Aiona: U.S. Air Force/Tech. Sgt. Jerome S. Tayborn/Wikimedia Commons