For those of you just joining us, Maui County Councilman Mike White is in trouble. Two years ago he was unopposed when he ran for reelection to the Makawao-Haiku-Paia seat on the council, but this year he had to face three challengers. One of them, former Maui County Councilman Mike Molina, ended up being the top vote winner in the Hawaii Primary Election. Here are the final results of that vote:
Mike Molina: 11,125 votes (40.4%)
Mike White: 9,815 votes (35.7%)
Henry Kahula, Jr.: 2,106 votes (7.7%)
Alex Haller: 826 votes (3.0%)
According to a source close to the County Council, White is none too happy about the results. And why should he be? Molina hasn’t been on the council for four years–time he’s largely spent working as an aide to Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa, White’s political nemesis–and he beat White by more than 1,300 votes.
If White was in any way relaxed about his reelection effort before Saturday’s vote, he’s certainly not now. And he’s taking the “non partisan” nature of Maui County Council races very seriously.
Two and a half weeks before the Primary, White had a $150/person fundraiser–
arranged by the Maui County Democrats–at the Yokouchi Estate in Wailuku (click here for the event’s webpage info on the event).* Seeing the fundraiser boosted on the Maui County Democratic Party’s webpage wasn’t surprising, considering that Maui Democrats’ chairman is Troy Hashimoto, who also works as an aide to White.
But at 6:30pm on this Thursday, Aug. 14, White will make an appearance at the Kalama Heights Community Center in Kihei before an entirely different audience–the Republican/libertarian TEA Party Maui. Here’s the event description, pulled from the Tea Party Maui’s website:
“TEA Party Maui’s featured speaker will be Council Member Mike White. Mr.White is sixth-generation kamaāina, born and raised on Oahu. In 2010, he won a two-year term on the Maui County Council, serving the residents of Makawao, Ha‘ikū and Pā‘ia, was re-elected in 2012, and is up for re-election in 2014. He serves as the Chair of the Council’s Budget and Finance Committee, which deals with all matters relating to County revenues and expenditures. We have asked Council Member White to speak about how he and his Budget and Finance Committee were able to accomplish the County property tax cut for this fiscal year while still appropriating million of dollars to meet the priority needs of the County in the areas of roads, water resources, public safety, and parks and recreation.”
Sounds like a friendly event to me, but who knows–maybe someone there will call out White (who makes his living as general manager of the Ka’anapali Beach Hotel) for his years voting for million-dollar grants to the Maui Visitors Bureau, which is about the best example of corporate welfare you’re going find on the island.
*On Aug. 14, Tracie Takatani emailed the following response to this post–specifically my assertion that the Democratic Party had sponsored White’s fundraiser at the Yokouchi Estate. According to Takatani, the Maui Democratic Party didn’t arrange the White fundraiser, but merely promoted it:
“I would like to kindly clarified that the Maui County Democratic Party had no role in this fundraiser, except that it was posted on the Maui County Democrats Website. As a practice, we try to post all candidates events on our website as a service to Democrats to the best of our ability. With this said, the Maui County Democratic Party did not sponsor Mike White’s event.”
I stand corrected, though I couldn’t help but notice that the Maui County Democrats webpage did not promote White’s appearance tonight before the TEA Party Maui…
Photo of Mike White courtesy Maui County Council website