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Romney sweeps Hawaii’s first GOP caucus

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Washington Times Communities by Daniel de Gracia

HONOLULU - Early this morning the Hawaii Republican Party announced to supporters that its first ever presidential caucus drew 10,239 votes—ten times higher than last week’s Democratic Party of Hawaii caucus—and that Mitt Romney had won with 4,250 votes (45%).

While 847 provisional ballots still have to be counted before an official determination of proportional delegates can be issued, current estimates place Romney with 8, Santorum 3 and a single delegate for Paul.

Across Oahu, Hawaii’s most populated island, caucus sites drew massive crowds last night, several of which ran out of ballots early in the evening but were later re-supplied.

David Chang, chairman of the Hawaii Republican Party, said he was very excited about the strong showing and said “It’s a game changer.”

At HRP headquarters, supporters from various campaigns began to arrive at 8:30 pm HST to observe the official delivery and reporting of ballots. Boxes of Mediterranean pizza and platters of crackers set with trays of goat cheese and mixed vegetables provided compulsive snacking for tightly wound observers and exhausted volunteers.

Initial numbers showed Romney with an early commanding lead, which only widened throughout the night. One report from State House Districts 46 and 47 dropped a whopping 1,027 votes for Romney with only 44 for Paul, 28 for Santorum, 9 for Gingrich and 2 write-ins.

“Well that’s it then,” a Ron Paul supporter on the floor of the headquarters said dejectedly as the report was announced. Several other Paul supporters looked equally devastated and walked out.

Gingrich, who came in last with only 1,034 votes, also had his share of supporters who were disappointed.

“I think Hawaii people are not as confrontational as Newt Gingrich is, and which is one of the reasons I support Newt, I like the battler in him,” said Rick Bernico, a Honolulu conservative. “I like that he’s not afraid to step on people’s toes and he gets things done. In Hawaii people aren’t necessarily partial to people who like to step on people’s toes.”

Other Hawaii Republicans were extremely satisfied and upbeat with the results and gladly offered their reactions and explanations for Romney’s win.

“What drives me to make a decision are similarity of values,” said Tercia Ku, a Waianae coast resident and woman of Hawaiian ancestry. “For me there was one person who rose above all of the rest and that was Gov. Romney. Because we are in the situation we are in economically, with his background I felt that he could better lead us into the recovery that this country really needs.”

“I think it shows that he’s got a ground game that’s effective and he’s got the corporate and executive experience where he actually knows how to win delegates,” said Honolulu resident Tim Lussier. “I think at the end of the day its about the voters and the delegates they elect and I think Gov. Romney’s continued victories show that he not only has what it takes to mount an effective campaign but hopefully turnaround Washington.”

To read the original article, please see http://communities.washingtontimes.com/neighborhood/making-waves-hawaii-perspective-washington-politic/2012/mar/14/mitt-romney-sweeps-hawaiis-first-gop-presidential-/

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