12 Months To Go, Seems Like Tomorrow.

Many of you received my reports from the Leadership Conference.  It was valuable learning which offset the expense, however, the on-site reporting was too time-consuming at the expense of networking (and sleep).

It seems like tomorrow with 64 days until the Iowa caucus and only 370 days until the General Election.  I write to conservatives and Hawaii Republicans, to initiate discussion and to fill a void in the Republican discussion.  Not a (public) blog, these reports are the only HRP news many members receive.  I encourage others to write, discuss and debate issues, policy and candidates.  We don’t have to always agree but we should be as informed as possible and decide for ourselves.  Feel free to forward this email.  Let friends, who think they are the only Republican or conservative in Hawaii, know there are others.  So much occurs between four-to-six week reports, it’s hard to capture everything but there is something for everyone.  Previous three reports are listed at the bottom.

As I departed to the conference, I was reminded that ‘normal’ people are too busy to think about politics.  Republican friends of mine were not aware that HRP chair Kaauwai resigned and Fukumoto took over.  The synopsis:  citing HRP leadership issues, a majority of the Exec Cmte, with the backing of all Republican state house members, Rep Djou and Gov Lingle, sent an email to the State Cmte calling a meeting to vote Kaauwai out of office.  After some drama and vote counting, Kaauwai, who may have kept his position if it had gone to a State Cmte vote, stepped aside citing the welfare of the Party.  Fukumoto, in the senior vice chair position, took over in the interim.

One lesson to this transition is that by refusing to speak to the media and by not keeping membership informed, party leaders allowed everyone else to tell our story.  ‘Confidential’ emails showed up in blogs, anonymous comments in articles were followed by leaders’ ‘no comment’ and news coverage based on rumors portrayed HRP almost exactly opposite of what it is.  The media wants you to believe Kaauwai departed over ideological issues and when they fail to mention management issues, they miss the mark.  I am not ignoring that for some there was an issue of religion: not (necessarily) religion itself but how it was used.  And, we can use the situation to remind members that party politics is about inclusiveness.  However, HRP is a (small) business in addition to being a political party.  I am a conservative but I couldn’t support poor business practices.  Almost every mention of HRP management of assets came as a side story to media framing of a liberal vs conservative fight.  Whether Kaauwai’s ‘fault’ or not, HRP ran up a $100,000 debt with no probable means to recover and a tough election cycle already in progress.  A Capital Campaign Ad-hoc cmte could stave off HQ foreclosure but HRP still wasn’t able to pay routine bills and had to let go all the paid staff.  What would your board of directors do?  HRP should have been more transparent.  HRP needs to push more info to members and the public.

Ideological differences?  There always are.  Each of the HRP sub-groups and coalitions can participate and undoubtedly someone will feel disaffected.  The difference this time?  $100,000.  The party consists of fiscal, social, and national defense conservatives.  Though some are considered conservative only if they embody all three, a Republican may be one, two or all three.  While each of us should support our favorite candidate or leader, the role of the party is to elect Republicans… all Republicans.  My evidence is more personal – I had a role in multiple elections with both the Lingle and Djou campaigns.  I worked with both of them as State Chairman.  We didn’t agree on everything but we did what we could to move the party, and Republicans, forward.  Do not be misled.  We – all our coalitions – have worked together, we can work together and, to win, we’ll have to work together.

I am glad the Exec Cmte finally initiated action.  They had the evidence of trouble for a year and pushed aside members trying to solve the problems.  Kaauwai was prudent in stepping aside.  We have an opportunity to recover.  A transition in Oct is better than a later transition would have been.

Give credit where due.  I understand Kaauwai’s commitment to HRP.  My passion led me to campaigning, Vice-Chairman and Chairman.  Kaauwai’s passion led to giving three years of his life to the effort of making HRP better and stronger.  Kaauwai leaves some experienced candidates for 2012 and he may also run for office.  I have been critical of the 2010 ‘filler’ candidates and the strain they place on limited HRP resources.  However, I never criticized the sheer number of candidates recruited by Kaauwai’s team, a number that I never came close to as State Chairman in ’08.  As Fontaine and Riviere trace their wins to their ’08 effort, any second-time candidate who wins in ’12 does so based on their previous experience.  Kaauwai also led HRP towards a more conservative stance.  While candidates may run based on their personal principals and the needs of their constituents, the conservative party should be conservative…… and open to all conservatives.

Maui County chair Wilson resigned in Aug, six months into term, citing business considerations.  Longtime member and experienced campaigner/fund raiser Cindy Sue Clark took over with an immediate positive impact.

HRP FEC report.  A short overview as leadership reorganizes.  At the end of Jul, HRP had $32,000 COH with $91,900 of debt.  End of Aug, $27,000 COH with $93,000 of debt.  At the end of Sep, HRP has $26,000 COH with $99,007 debt.

I again ask readers to contribute to and volunteer for HRP.  Please, www.GOPhawaii.com.  Last month, Fukumoto announced that our House caucus would help HRP fundraising with a Nov event.  $15k of the Capital Campaign Greenwood net was applied against the mortgage principal knocking it down to $169k!  Another $45k was to be held for mortgage payments for the next two years.  OLRW reportedly raised another $500 for Capital Campaign to add to the reported $1200 last month.  Hats off to Wong and Thomason and accounting firm IMS.  They probably should have dropped HRP as clients.  For FEC/CSC compliance alone, much less our accounting, they thankfully didn’t so.

I am receiving more fundraising letters and event announcements from state candidates in a good sign that they are ramping up their campaigns.

Reapportionment is done, but isn’t because of lawsuits which deal with the constitutional requirement to exclude nonresidents vs the argument that it can’t determined if military are nonresidents.  This dictates whether the Big Island or Oahu gets a senate seat.  BI senator Green threw a shadow on the effort by alleging district lines being determined to the benefit of a Republican commission member.  Regardless of outcome, Thomason, Chipchase, Moore and Nonaka on the commission along with Palcik and Schaefer (leading the Oahu and Maui Advisory Boards) gave an enormous amount of their time and expertise.

Hellreich wrote a good NCW report in Sept.  I am curious if info presented at a state or exec mtg gets to HRP members.  If you received her report, perhaps from a vice chair or your district chair, please let me know.  Has anyone not on the State Cmte ever seen minutes of an exec or state meeting?

I, and several others, asked multiple times for the list of 47 candidates we are told are running for office.  Members who are asking me are ready to provide support.

We need Pres caucus guidance.  On the prompting in my last report, Walden wrote and Kaauwai sent out an overview.  That is a start but the party needs formal instructions and guidance.  Several readers are outraged with on-the-spot registration to vote; we’re fighting the fraud of same-day registration across the nation.  Too late to change.  Touted as a process to allow voters to directly vote for the Presidential candidate of their choice, other readers are angry about the $5000 fee required for their candidate to be even listed on the ballot.  When I explain that the caucus is going to occur, period, they ask why HRP members, voters and the public don’t know about it.  I can’t answer that.  I imagine the local Pres campaigns want to see formal vote counting procedures and safeguards.

I was wrong and some will like it (that I was wrong).  Presidential caucus – when participating campaigns are given their allocation of delegates for the national convention, the respective campaigns can select anyone they choose to be delegate or alternate delegate.  Each campaign sets their own rules for selecting their delegates.  The ’09 rule requiring campaigns to have a complete list of delegates and alternate delegates prior to the caucus (As I had reported) was changed in our ’11 Rules.

My Pastor told our congregation that he would bring current politics into his sermon.  That got my attention.  He then debunked what liberals have used, from Jefferson’s letter, as a separation of church and state.  I know elections have consequences.  I know that everyone better vote in the Presidential election.

After HRP failed to hold last quarter’s State Cmte meeting, in the turmoil of transition, Fukumoto called the next for Nov 5.  The abbreviated meeting is to have the State Cmte vote to replace HRP chair and secretary.  In addition to Exec Cmte written reports, we’ll receive a Treasurer’s report and an update on the Presidential caucus.

WaPo, Arlington County, VA “GOP raises $4 in September.  It’s tough being a Republican in [northern VA], where Democrats dominate the electorate.” However, some counties are raising.  Maui county has a Nov 15 raiser.  HNL county chair asked HRP sustaining donors to move their contributions to the county fund.  County events are as valuable for team building as they are for raising funds.  I encourage each of the counties to follow Maui’s lead.

Saw the Gridiron political parody (satire?) at DHT.  Republicans highlighted were Marumoto, Berg and Slom.

Our State House Republicans and Senate Republican (singular) legislative packages are being finalized for the session to begin Jan 18.  Government transparency and fiscal responsibility highlight our package.  Because you have read to this point, you must care about government policy.  Contact Ward and Slom’s office to ask how you can help in an office or to support legislation.

US House:  Djou announced his campaign and his deployment at the same time and had two early fundraisers.  Last quarter, Djou raised $81k, spent 13k and has 244k COH.  Hanabusa raised 143k and spent 42k with 318 COH (+ 5k in debt).  Her’s is a high burn rate for this early in the cycle.  Hanabusa also paid off 42.7k of previous debt (mostly personal loans).  (interesting Republican donor on her report.)

CD2:  Hannemann raised $306k with 297k COH. Gabbard raised 125k with 133k COH (interesting Republican donor to her primary race).  No Republican candidate, yet.

US Senate:  Lingle announced that she is running and, in a HUGE statement, the Cook Political Report moved the seat from “Leans Democratic” to “Toss-Up” before there was a poll.  Carroll announced, though has yet to file with the FEC.  Roco says he is again running.  Last quarter, Hirono raised $302k with 722k COH.  Case raised 134k with 272k COH.  Lingle’s numbers won’t be released until Jan but her opening salvo was a reported $400,000 net at her announcement-night raiser.  Horserace data at this point is only useful to establish a baseline for trends.  Polling has Lingle 85-9 over Carroll.  In the general,  Hirono leads Lingle by only six, with Case trailing Lingle by two.

I am working with Republican Super PAC.  Organized by members of the conservative group I helped found, the RNC Conservative Caucus (RNCC), Super PAC is an incredible concept for Republican candidates to neutralize democrat and union spending.  With Obama spending more time fund raising than governing, with a democrat HI gov (who is not necessarily helping his party) and with Inouye supporting Hirono and Hanabusa, Super PAC can level the playing field.  Republican Super PAC is a national independent expenditure PAC which means that spending, or how and what is spent, can’t be coordinated with the campaigns (http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/may/15/gop-fundraising-tactic-avoids-cash-limits/print/).  Super PAC can accept unlimited personal, corporate or union funds which can be earmarked for a specific independent expenditure, to include for candidates.

Romney-Hawaii has their leadership team working.  One Romney son (Matt, I think) is coming to the islands for fundraising in early Dec.  Ron Paul Hawaii is active (their FB site has photos of their Aug ‘sign bomb’ day).  Several groups are working on a Cain Hawaii team on each island.  Anyone know of other candidates with a local presence?  PPP poll: each of our top candidates polled better against Obama than had McCain in ’08.  The poll of Republican voters has Cain 36-24 against Romney .  Next were Perry and Gingrich, neither of whom may be on our caucus ballot, tied at 8.  Civil Beat reported on the last quarter in Hawaii:  Paul had 85 donors averaging $423 with Romney next with 28 donors averaging $1246.  Gingrich had the next highest $ amount but Bachmann had the next highest number of donors.  It is doubtful either will be on the caucus ballot.  One complication:  the national campaign has to pay $5k to be on our Mar caucus ballot but campaigns are wary to spend money, especially right now, in places other than the ‘first four’ states.  As Tea party groups prepare for future events, members are split in their Presidential candidate support.  Tea is refreshing (no pun) in that while Hawaii members support their respective Presidential candidate, the groups continue to work together to promote Tea principals.

In Aug, the RNC raised $8.2M to the DNC’s $5.5M.  There was a correlation to Obama spending more time governing, the debt limit deal in this case, than performing as fundraiser-in-chief.  In Sept, RNC raised an off-year record $9.1M, again demonstrating Priebus’ positive leadership, and now has $11.4M COH with debt down to $14.5M (some to be carried through ’12 as we raise for the election).

Dems may win seats but they aren’t going to take the US House, needing to net 25 seats.  (72-29 odds that GOP keeps the House).  Sabato reports that with the ‘leaning’ one way or the other and the ‘toss up’ seats, there are only 46 competitive seats with both HI seats ‘Safe D.’  I asked a NRCC panel in LV why, with a strong House majority, their Aug fundraising was ‘anemic’ (DCCC and NRCC both raised about $3M).  My softball pitch was prime for a ‘You can all help by contributing to the RNCC or helping your local congressman raise funds.’  Instead, I got ‘what is important is net money and we spend less so we net more.’  Now Sep numbers come out and the DCCC nearly doubled NRCC raising, $6.6M to 3.8M, and has raised more on the year.  Still, NRCC has more COH than the DCCC.

We’re going to win the US Senate, we need four seats and we recruited well.  Dems must defend twice as many seat.  Don’t get overconfident, a lot will happen before Nov ’12. (Odds are 73-25 GOP wins control)  The DSCC at $10.9M has more COH than the NRSC at 6.8M.

This week confirms that, nationally, it is Cain, then Romney at the top, and then some order of Gingrich, Paul and Perry.  However, Romney leads or is tied for the lead in the five states up first.  In keeping with the LV theme of last week, the betting line is 69.8% Romney, 11.4% Perry and 6.4% Cain.  Jul-Sep raising:  Perry $17.2M, Romney 14.2M, Paul 8M, Bachmann 4.1M, Cain 2.8M, Huntsman 2.2M.  The numbers get distorted when candidates can chuck a couple million of personal funds into the kitty.

Ten days ago, NV agreed to move their caucus and that caused…..never mind.  It was tense, complicated and interesting (reading and hearing about it).  Bottom line is that the RNC negotiated dates with several parties which keeps the primaries/caucuses from starting in Dec.

I don’t recall having such a bench, nationally.  The Presidential candidates are good and any one of them will be better than Obama, or Clinton if she ends up as the dem nominee.  I haven’t decided on a Republican nominee, we have a long way to go.  This election is so important that, unlike the past two years of working exclusively with conservatives, I’ll go with the most conservative candidate who can beat Obama.  Some have suggested that our strong Presidential field may even be eclipsed by others not in that race – Rubio, McDonnell, Christie, Sandoval, Ryan, Barbour, Cantor, Martinez, West, Jindal.  I don’t want to leave anyone out but you get the idea.  In off-year elections, last month Jindal won overwhelmingly in LA.  VA (watch this swing state which will be critical in ’12), MS and NJ coming up next week.

In this important 2012 cycle, 31% (up from 20% last month) of Republicans believe winning is the priority.  2010 was different and valuable for conservatives.  In ’10, some conservatives chose to lose races (not on purpose) to make the point ‘I’m not going to take this any longer.”  It worked.  This cycle, when you realize that your favorite candidate may not win, you must join the coalition fighting to beat dems.  That is the only way we win.  In the end, we must nominate the most conservative (my opinion) Republican who can beat Obama.  Until then, we should have vigorous and tough primary contests, challenging our candidates to be ready for desperate dems trying to hold the Presidency, a US Senate majority, Congressional and local seats.  The key for 2012? – No one stays home.  Everyone comes together and backs our candidate because it is not too late to save the US, but it may be if we fail in 2012.

At the October H17,18,19 District Meeting, it was made public that Paul and Linda Smith are departing Hawaii at the end of the year.  When you see or write them, thank them.  They are business owners who didn’t have to be involved in politics.  They are good people and among things to numerous to write, Linda was center to bringing HRP to relevancy in the early 90s and absolutely instrumental in the Lingle administration.  Paul was a State Senate candidate, President of our conservative Hawaii Republican Assembly and key at the start of the Hawaii Tea party movement.

Thanks, Willes


Previous five:

Western Region Leadership Conference,3 parts

Back to School Report, Part I & II

Mid-year Report