Back To School Report, Part II

Part I went to you on Wednesday discussing HRP finances and party leadership.  This is Back to School Report, Part II.  I am writing to conservatives and Hawaii Republicans to inform, initiate discussion and provide a perspective we don’t get from HRP.  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, discussion is good.  Previous reports are listed at the bottom.

Throughout these reports there are myriad campaign tips and suggestions.  This report is no different.

Background:  HRP conducts annual district (and precinct) caucus meetings.  By party rules, the meetings must be held during the period of the last week of Jan through the first week of Feb.  At these meetings we elect delegates to our county and state convention and a rep to the Resolutions or Rules committee (alternating years).  Each Presidential election year, these delegates (during the May state convention) also elect our state delegates to the national convention and elect our state National Committee Man and National Committee Woman.  Members of HRP or anyone joining the party ten days prior to the caucus meeting are eligible to participate in the district caucus.

At the May ’09 state convention, HRP changed the party rules for our national delegate selection process to require our delegates to the national convention to be determined by votes in a Presidential caucus.  The votes are tallied and divided by percentage for each candidate to determine how many of our delegate authorization (17 national delegates and 17 alternate delegates) each Presidential campaign receives.  Any Hawaii registered voter (non-affiliated, independent, Independent, Democratic, Republican, Green, The American Political Party, Libertarian or other) can join HRP the evening of the caucus (no matter how temporary their membership) and vote in our Presidential caucus, now scheduled for March 2012.  

For 2012, districts are required to organize both their annual district caucus meeting and the Presidential caucus voting.

HRP has 10-14 of the annual district caucus meetings at HQ each year and district chairs are waiting for the plan to have their Jan-Feb caucus meeting somewhere other than the HQ which Kaauwai wants to vacate.  Many of those districts have no chair (though some have a name on the roster) and several chairs just don’t care.

We need a HRP plan for the Presidential caucus.  There are emails, some discussion, a lot of rumors, but no plan.  Blogger and Kaauwai aide Walden’s $30,000 Presidential caucus budget is shot to heck by Kaauwai’s HRP debt.  Districts are being told to find a location for their Presidential caucus and are being offered a $100 budget.  I suggest district chairs get the money from HRP in advance (reread the FEC para in Part I if you don’t understand why).  Churches, non-profit status and public perceptions be damned, are their first choice for venue.  While a HRP caucus committee was formed, it never produced HRP guidance, procedures, or a process.  Last month, we started seeing conflicting emails – food vs no food, meeting vs just voting.  Now, a few district reps may get together to write instructions and guidance that the rest of HRP may use.  Supported by the highest (!) of party officials, this new process was passed into the rules at the May ’09 convention which elected Kaauwai.  I don’t have a problem with the concept (well, yes I do, next para), still, we’re 2 1/3 years later and no guidance.  Note:  Our routine, annual district caucus meetings to select delegates to our state convention comes with a detailed instruction packet which even includes a script that a potential new chair can read verbatim to get through the caucus meeting.  A first ever Hawaii Presidential caucus?  No guidance.  There is still time to make this work.

I expect ‘interesting’ methods to be used to get candidate names on our caucus ballot.  Buy-in is $5,000/candidate per the Kaauwai/Walden plan (NH, where every candidate ‘must’ campaign, is only $1,000).  HRP needs the money early because they are $100k in debt and there are costs involved (and timing requirements) to make the public ‘call’ (hint, hint) for convention delegates, arrange venues, purchase supplies.  Presidential candidates seldom spend funds in Hawaii.  We have 17 of the 2,000+ national delegates.  By moving our delegate selection from May (as in ’00, ’04, ’08) to February (then to mid-March after leadership was reminded, hint, to read the RNC rules), Kaauwai and Walden’s (and Nonaka) theory is that Presidential candidates will personally flock to Hawaii to fight for our 17 delegates and our party membership will soar.  They may be right.  Maybe.  Walden continues to lower expectations from 20,000-30,000 participating Hawaii Republicans and on-the-spot new members (promised at the ’09 convention) down to 10,000 expected to participate statewide (guaranteed at this year’s convention) to last month’s email suggesting districts prepare for 100 (to 200) voters or 5000 total voters.  With their rule allowing any registered voter to participate, 5000 appears small considering Kaauwai reports 23,000 Republicans on HRP rolls.  (The Hawaii democrat caucus is the week prior to ours.)  Local presidential campaign members could pay the $5k but it has to be reported to the FEC.  In the past, presidential campaigns prohibited these expenditures in states they wouldn’t win so as to maximize funds in states where they are possible to win.  HRP decided to determine national delegates based on the results of the Presidential caucus (which is six weeks after and a different group of people from our annual district caucus meetings).

JUST a scenario:  Say that Pres candidates Romney and Paul figure out a legal or otherwise means to pay HRP the $5000 to be on the caucus ballot.  There will probably also be one other candidate.  The three of them split the vote and say we end up with eight delegates for Romney, seven for Paul, and two for Pres candidate Bachmann.  Yes, Paul may have more, or anyone else could compete, this is just an illustration.  By June, maybe, we find out from across the nation that the Republican presumptive nominee is Pres candidate Perry (just an illustration).  Are our Paul, Romney and Bachmann delegates going to each pony up the $3,000-5,000 for the convention week in Tampa,or $4k-6 for the two weeks (the week prior to convention, committees meet to produce a party platform, finalize party rules, decide contested delegate assignments etc)?  Will they make travel arrangements early enough to avoid making late airline reservations?  Speaking of platform, rules and contests, are our Paul delegates going to be the one’s sent to work on a Perry platform?  Let’s say they go to the convention.  Delegates are bound to cast their votes for their candidate unless that candidate formally drops from the race (Paul never dropped out in 08).  When the other states go to the microphone to cast their votes for the presumptive nominee, Perry in our example, Hawaii will take the stage on national television and cast their votes for …. Romney, Paul, and Bachmann.  Oops.  On the other hand, perhaps we have a brokered convention.  Out of 2000+ delegates, our eight Romney votes could make the difference in who becomes our nominee… least in theory.  This scenario does not even begin to address how each local campaign selects their delegates (however they want) once the caucus votes determine their respective allocation, or that each campaign must list their 34 delegates/alternate delegates who have agreed to pay and attend the convention, before their candidate can pay the $5000 to be on our ballot.  If there are so many Republicans willing to pay for the trip, Kaauwai should be able to raise more than $6k/month for HRP.  I’m just guessing, but I don’t think there are 34 paying campaign members for each of three or four campaigns here in Hawaii without listing (with a wink) some who have no intention of going.  Factor in the uncertainty of economy and jobs and the taxes Abercrombie says he will raise, water/sewer and electric increases and everything else hammering Hawaii residents’ pocketbooks, I think that either (1) we end up with only two names on our ballot who may not be top-tier candidates or (2) Kaauwai does as he has the past two years, ignores his own by-then-RNC-certified rules and risks a challenge to our delegation by making stuff up to solve these issues.  I hope Kaauwai and Walden can make this work.  As I have written, there will be a challenge to any rules infraction because any candidate team would like to eliminate another’s delegates and any resident of Hawaii, not just a Republican, can levy a challenge.  And, we have to live with it – every delegate vote not cast for the winner will be remembered when HRP asks for RNC support in the future.

Moving from HRP:

Seeking counsel (or Council).  Lots of talk about a possible non-partisan Pine race for City Council.  I was approached (by a staffer, not Pine) and point blank asked for political and fundraising advice.  Meanwhile, the campaign says that the Kaauwai (and others) rumor that Pine is changing parties is inaccurate.  It is a rumor.  Just not true.  We saw Kaauwai attack the Tea Party and LG candidate King the same way in ’10.

Borreca, SA Aug 21:  “It doesn’t matter what was promised, or what you hope for or what you deserve,” Abercrombie warned. “You can’t operate a society where 75 to 80 percent of the people are working to sustain 10 percent. The benefits have to change.”  So will state taxes.  Abercrombie says there is no choice but to ask for tax increases next year.  “There will be revenue (increases) and I think there will be a lot of support for it,” Abercrombie said.  My take:  Previous dem officials knew they were creating an unsustainable entitlement problem but never admitted it in public.  Having a progressive dem governor admit that the dem and union leadership policies don’t work is refreshing.  A failure of logic – in admitting the long-time democrat and liberal policy failure, Abercrombie says he’ll solve his problem by increasing taxes, or at least ask the legislature (in an election year) to do so.  Why don’t liberals get it?

West Hawaii Today, Jun 18, covering Slom on the Big Island:  He didn’t just bash Abercrombie and Democrats. He criticized Abercrombie’s opponent for governor last year, James R. “Duke” Aiona Jr.  Slom said Aiona’s failure to get Republicans out to the polls and the voters’ general disgust of the tenor of last year’s election hurt Republicans, leading Slom to his current status as the only Republican in the Senate.

Which leads us to Jan-Jun CSC reports.  Ward and Rep Thielen lead our pack.  They raised funds.  The others….didn’t.  On the dem side, many have been raising funds according to their report.  Green raised $55k, Rhodes 12k, English 19k, Kidani 25k, Cabanilla 8k, Chong 8k, Dela Cruz 41k, Tsutsi 62k, Espero 7k, Galuteria 35k, Hee 72k with 311k COH (Carlisle 283k with 259k COH, by the way), Ito 12k, Kim 31k, Mizuno 10k.  Even Schatz raised 60k.  Abercrombie was quiet but had a fundraiser at the end of August which raised a reported 850k.  On our side, Thielen raised almost $6k, Ward almost 7k, Prevedouros 6k, Montes raised 4k (and used it to pay off part of his personal loan so the campaign is still in debt).  I picked out incumbents and some of the more prominent ’10 candidates (some are running in ’12, some I don’t know): Raising $1k or less is Fontaine, Baron, Shimizu, Riviere, Aiona, Pine, Johanson, Hodges.  Raising zero is Finnegan, Stevens, Chang, Enos, Schumucker, Capelouto, Slom, Wong, Bean, Berg, Ching, King, Sabey, Blas, Couch, Fale, Kawakami, Fukumoto, Hamman, Hapai, Katz, Leau, Marumoto, Pandolfe, Kaapu.   Fortunately, some have a warchest such as Thielen $25k, Baron 7k, Finnegan with almost 16k, Slom 11k, Ward almost 36k, Riviere 6k, Aiona 35k, Ching 7k, Pine 9k, Johanson 10k, Fale 11k, Hapai 18k.  It is challenging for Republicans to be competitive fundraisers but we make it more difficult by blowing off a quarter of the election cycle.  It is looking up:  Several candidates have mail appeals in the field and a couple have raisers planned.

In ’08, one of then-dem chair Schatz’s failures was in not running someone in every race when Obama was at the top of their ticket.  Why not this time?  Obama doesn’t enjoy the (intense) popularity which he did in ’08 but going into ’12 we are the most dem state in the union (no pun) and consistently in the top three states of Obama lovers.  Republican’s don’t need to win the Hawaii US Senate seat to take the Senate majority but the dems need to keep it if they hope to maintain their majority so they have an edge in national intensity about that seat.  Lingle is formidable as I told reporter Borreca when he ask last spring and Congressman’s Djou’s viability will help local candidates.  However, for the past eight months, our candidates had no idea whether Lingle or Djou would run.  Throw in that you can expect no help – absentee ballot, GOTV, voter files, mail pieces – from a revenue-challenged HRP.  You candidates are going to have to raise funds and build a ground game.  Can you?  Of course!  The evidence of potential success is in the number of our incumbents who routinely run ‘outside’ the party.  If they receive HRP support, all the better.  Their success comes, partially, in that they do not rely on HRP.

Remember this?  Star-Bulletin May 2009:  Passed unanimously by the state House and overwhelmingly in the Senate on May 6, the resolution (House Concurrent Resolution 100, House Draft 1) recognizes the “rich religious, scientific, cultural and artistic contributions” of Islam and the Islamic world.”  And this: KGMB Sep 2010  The 2d Annual Islam Day will be held Friday.  And of course this from Wikipedia: September 24, 2009 corresponds with September 11, 2009 in the Jullian calendar.  (Print in bold, underlined italics is my edit)

Related to National politics:

Most gutsy move.  Djou didn’t wait for Lingle’s announcement.  Probably a good thing or he’d be announcing via Skype.  With $234k COH, Djou’s ‘capable campaign team’ needs to hold their own these next two quarters.  Having those funds left on the table from ’10 eliminates a serious challenge in a primary but he leaves the door open by having to deploy to serve our country.  Hanabusa is staying in CD1 and matched his total with the $230k she raised last quarter.  The proposed reapportionment plan helps her (though I have heard it argued otherwise).  Djou is running from the Tea Party though, except for his support of the Akaka Bill, his fiscal/role of gov’t views fit right in.  The media paints Djou as moving to the center (as do Djou’s own words) already anticipating the general election.  Conservatives complain that Djou always was in the center (or social left) and voted that way in office.  Here is what you have to decide about our absolutely best opportunity to have a Hawaii Republican in the US House – would you rather have Hanabusa?  Now is the time to send Djou a check.  HRP, being broke, will not be able to accomplish their required functions.  Through HRP wasteful spending and a lack of fundraising, we have forced that burden and expense on our candidates.  Give Djou the resources to accomplish the HRP tasks.  When we see his team and have an idea of his plan, we’ll know if we should continue to invest in him.  Latest – HRP is making a point that since Djou last ran, HRP passed an Anti-Akaka Bill resolution  Finally, last week Djou endorsed Romney.

Lingle is team building, filling holes in her ’06 campaign team (or ’98 or ’02) of members not coming back.  The Governor is doing her due diligence, organizing support.  She is a prolific fundraiser.  US Senate leadership wants her in the race.  No politician in Hawaii commands an audience as does she.  She is the most politically savvy Republican politician in the state.  If she jumps in, she will be ready.  If she doesn’t, it will be demoralizing to Republicans.  One high-level mainland contact noted to me the Obama factor in Hawaii being the likely deterrent to her candidacy.

As in my recap which went to many of you on this report list, the RNC Summer Meeting in Tampa was important and fulfilling.  There is so much RNC good news to report.  I purposely used a different format, attaching a Word doc to an email, because of my role at the meeting as opposed to my informal observations in these reports (listed at the bottom).  What I said (in my RNC Summer meeting recap) – Hallow Wash Times: Mr. Obama is expected to raise a record $1 billion by November 2012.  Beleaguered by reports of mismanagement and a reluctance by [former RNC chair] Mr. Steele to put much time into courting potential donors, the committee attracted fewer major donors, and total fundraising from those donors slowed to a trickle. Coupled with lavish spending, the committee was left deeply in debt.  Mr. Priebus, the former Wisconsin party chairman, has spent much of his time in office on the phone and traveling around the country making personal appeals to wealthy contributors, apparently succeeding in winning back their trust in the RNC.

Bachmann’s Iowa win, Perry’s in big, Romney is holding his own.  Our field is set, sort of.  Giuliani and Palin, at least, are still out there but it is getting late.  Ryan and Pataki (and Christie, again) have definitively said ‘no.’  Pundits say we’ll know our nominee in June.  I hope it is that early.  A brokered convention, while exciting, keeps us uncertain until September.  Progressive and liberal bloggers (and Limbaugh) are trying to gain traction with a rumor of a dem challenger to Obama (highlighted by the question being asked at a WH presser).  There are 203 candidates for President.  Seriously.  203 people have filed form 2.  Check the list,, one may be your neighbor or family member.

Romney-Hawaii is organizing and Paul has a presence.  Paul’s ‘sign bomb’ last month was noticed.  I received calls of homemade Paul signs in at least Waikiki and Aiea.

You still have time to register for the Western Region Leadership Conference in Las Vegas next month.  See you there.

Not really, but still political. On Aug 13, San Francisco blocked cell phone reception in order to disrupt protesters.  San Francisco?  Democrat bastion of liberalism using a government blockage of cell service to prevent protesters from organizing?  I did not hear of a follow up ACLU suit against the city.

Never forget: Sept 11, 2001 “The whole side has collapsed,” ABC’s Peter Jennings said.  “The whole building has collapsed,” ABC’s reporter on the scene, Don Dahler, corrected him.

Kona Tea Party ( 9-11 Tenth Anniversary Memorial 11a-3p Sept 11, Queen Kaahumanu Hwy Roadside at the Mormon Church. “Bring your thoughts, your prayers, a lei, and a [US] flag if you can.” “…and spend a few moments with us.”

We’re flying our flag at half staff on Sunday.


Thanks, Willes



Back To School Report, Part I

Mid-year Report

State Convention +

Re: [LLIFE] Fwd: Did you get this?

Testing the Waters

’10 Learning

What Happened?

National Field Tilts

Let’s Elect Some Conservatives

Last minute (week) tidbits, for conservatives, part 2

Last minute (week) tidbits, for conservatives, part 1

Djou – Remember When?  Update

Races to Watch

Primary Election – Fun With Numbers