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Monday, May 18, 2009
Hawaii Republicans elect Kaauwai Chair
By Andrew Walden @ 6:59 PM :: 8045 Views :: Energy, Environment

by Andrew Walden

Rebounding from their 2008 election drubbing, Hawai`i Republicans have recruited over 500 new members -- and it showed at the State GOP convention meeting at the Waikoloa Beach Marriott May 16. Among over 300 delegates and guests were about 100 attending their first convention.

Convention delegates enthusiastically elected a new leadership team of:

  • Jonah Ka`auwai -- Chairman
  • Marcia Klompus -- Vice-Chair for Coordinated Campaigns
  • Rep. Lynn Finnegan -- Vice-Chair for Candidate Recruitment and Training
  • Jim Bryan -- Vice-Chair for Communications
  • Ted Hong -- Vice-Chair for Coalitions
  • Keoki Leong – Vice Chair for Community Service
  • Lisa Collucci – Secretary
  • Kathy Thomason – Treasurer

While the Vice-Chairs ran unopposed, Ka`auwai faced Paul Smith and Mike Palcic in the race for State Chair. Governor Linda Lingle made no formal endorsement but seemingly tipped her hat towards the 36-year-old Ka`auwai as she spoke to delegates Saturday morning telling them, “Its time for younger leadership.” Lt Governor Aiona made a nomination speech for Ka`auwai from the floor of the convention.  The vote totals were: 175 Ka`auwai, 33 Smith, 5 Palcic.

Governor Lingle told convention goers that, “There is only one way to ensure we have balance in 2010—and that is to elect a Republican Governor.” And convention goers took stacks of campaign material for Duke Aiona and for Charles Djou, candidate for US House District 1 in Honolulu both of whom are launching campaigns at the center of the 2010 Republican effort. Aiona also gave a rousing campaign speech which brought delegates to their feet.

Ka`auwai’s “Our Party, Our Ohana” team spearheaded the successful GOP recruitment efforts and he pledges to recruit 1000s more. Mass voter registration of voters in Republican-leaning demographics is another priority.  In his acceptance speech, Ka`auwai outlined his plan to rebuild the Republican organization from the precinct level on up and field Republican candidates in all 51 House District races and all Senate races.

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