Monday, March 12, 2012
The Washington Times Communities by Daniel de Gracia
HAWAII – Representatives, but not the men themselves, from each of the four GOP candidates are actively campaigning in the Islands in preparation for Hawaii’s first presidential caucus to be held tonight.
Over the weekend, Ron Paul’s campaign launched a TV ad and held a meet and greet in Waikiki, attended by oldest son Ronnie Paul and national campaign manager, John Tate.
Today, Rick Santorum’s daughter Elizabeth hosted a lunch at the Hawaii Republican Party headquarters and signwaving events for the Santorum campaign brought visibility to the streets.
Matt Romney, on behalf of his father has been active since last week, engaging in radio interviews. Mr. Romney is scheduled to host a Honolulu meeting tomorrow morning. Newt Gingrich also has an active state campaign team organizing on multiple islands.
Prompted by Hawaii’s rising gasoline prices – which for some Honolulu residents is as high as $4.45 per gallon – Santorum announced to Hawaii voters on Facebook early this morning:
“I’ll eliminate all regulations promulgated by the Obama Administration which have an economic burden over $100 million dollars, on Day One, including repeal of the EPA rule on CO2 emissions that have already shut down six power plants and furloughed 500 workers. I will order a review of all regulations, making sure these regulations use sound science and common-sense cost benefit analysis.”
Late this afternoon during peak Honolulu rush hour commute, Elizabeth Santorum, Matt Romney and Ronnie Paul also particpated in a joint radio forum hosted by Hawaii Republican Party Chairman David Chang on local radio station AM 790 in an attempt to draw clear distinctions and woo remaining undecided voters.
Many locals decided, ready to vote
On the street, many Hawaii Republicans are already motivated and ready to vote, many of which actively campaigned in 2008 for GOP presidential candidates and have long waited for tomorrow’s opportunity to vote again. Romney, who has already won solid victories in Guam and the Marianas, needs only Hawaii to complete his Pacific victory.
“I supported Mitt Romney in 2008 and continue to support Mitt now in 2012,” says Hawaii conservative Tim Lussier. “I think Mitt has the best organized ground game here in Hawaii and that shows he is the best organized candidate in this race [and] that speaks to his strong leadership.”
“Romney is the most conservative candidate that has the best chance to win and I know he’ll do well here in Hawaii,” Lussier said.
Others are confident that Paul – who has received the highest contributions from Hawaii residents – is still the best choice and has the enthusiasm and local support to win.
“I have made up my mind and my choice has been Ron Paul since I heard him debate in 2007,” says local Matthew Bowler. “My sense about the election results on Tuesday is that anything could happen.”
Bowler says that Paul’s campaign has wide appeal and that “people in Hawaii are responding to the message of freedom and personal liberty.”
Hawaii delegates, local weather in focus
Hawaii Republican Party Chairman David Chang is upbeat and optimistic about the state’s first ever presidential caucus and how it empowers the public.
“They actually have a say from now on who the delegates will be,” says Chang. “Previously delegates were elected at district caucus, those delegates would go to state convention and those delegates would elect the delegates that go to the national convention. But now each presidential campaign team will be the ones to select their delegates on how the vote goes.”
Over the past two weeks, Hawaii has experienced severe inclement weather which prompted Governor Neil Abercrombie last week to emergency declare a “major disaster and catastrophe” from flooding, but over the last few hours weather has significantly improved.
If weather should worsen however, the combination of Oahu’s long traffic commutes and rain might potentially impact participation. Nonetheless, irrespective of weather party rules require that the announced caucus times – 6pm to 8pm – remain the same with no extensions.
Chang believes however disruptions from possible swings in weather should be minimal due to the selection of caucus sites. “We’ve chosen the 41 locations based on where people live, so it’s going to be the same or close to where you go for the general election and a lot of it is walking distance from your neighborhood,” Chang said.
To read the original article, please see http://communities.washingtontimes.com/neighborhood/making-waves-hawaii-perspective-washington-politic/2012/mar/12/obamas-home-state-grabs-republicans-campaign-wire-/