The Holidays, Caucuses and Candidates

Aloha friends.  In politics, there is nothing like the holiday season with only 30 days to the Iowa caucus and 336 until the General election.  I write to Hawaii Republicans and conservatives to initiate discussion and to fill a void in the Republican discussion.  I prefer to email rather than blog in public.  I encourage others to email or blog to discuss and debate issues, policy and candidates.  We won’t always agree but we should be as informed as possible to decide for ourselves.  Feel free to forward this email.  Let friends, who fear 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.  My previous three reports are listed at the bottom.

There is a lot of positive action occurring in the HRP.  Fukumoto had a seamless chair transition with Chang.  When the State Cmte elected Chang to finish the current term, it also elected Schaedel as party secretary.  Shortly after the State Cmte meeting, Rodriguez resigned as Honolulu County.  I hope Rodriguez (and his team) finds a candidate he can support with his energy and undeniable passion.  Honolulu county installed East-Oahu vice chair Vaillancourt to finish the county chair term.  With 11 months to go to the general election, it is time for unity and cooperation.

State Cmte meeting.  October’s meeting was a success.  Business was brief, focused on the election of Chang (and Schaedel) and the next State Cmte meeting was announced for Jan 21.  We got bogged down in a sometimes-contentious presentation on the status of the Presidential caucus.  There are a lot of issues being worked by the Caucus cmte.

HRP FEC.  As of the end of Oct, HRP had $24,000 COH in the federal account (which includes several thousand in county funds and capital campaign mortgage funds) with $103,000 in debt.  There are also some, limited, funds in the HRP state account.  Money is not the most important thing in politics, as long as you have it.  We need to erase debt and provide for the 2012 elections.  I spoke to the Meridian senior partner who is willing to work out a deferral of payment – Meridian has been good friends and allies for HRP for more than a decade.  We canceled the party credit card though we can’t close the account until the debt is paid.  Thanks goodness that IMS continues to provide accounting services, some even as an in-kind donation.

Republicans and HRP members have high hopes going forward.  With a steep learning curve, Chang is working hard.  Our vice chairs are going to have to step up and become proactive.  We need fresh perspectives and some experienced party management.  We need our experienced leaders to assist.

I am willing and able to assist.  I am running for National Committee Man (NCM) to again serve the Hawaii Republican Party.  Our current NCM is not running for reelection at the May State convention.  Our NCM can be an asset for the chairman and the party.  Committee members holding these important positions travel across their states, and to national meetings, raising funds for the state party and counties and candidates, help to recruit members to the party and inform members of state and national issues and actions.  As volunteers, most committee members incur tens-of-thousands of dollars of personal expenses each year.  Having spent six of the last eight years on the state Exec Cmte, with two years as state Chairman raising $2,000,000 for the party, I hope to serve our membership with my experience and fund raising abilities.  I am committed to the Hawaii Republican Party.  I am not tied to one particular candidate campaign or committee and I pledge to assist all GOP candidates.  I am not constrained by career or family demands.  I have the knowledge, time, contacts and resources to be effective.  I am attending the Jan RNC Winter meeting in New Orleans and have several meetings – RNCC, Republican Super PAC – scheduled between RNC sessions.  I have spoken with our state chair and each county chair about potential fundraising opportunities and member meetings.  I’ll ask for your vote so that I may again serve the party to help elect Republicans.

Fundraising.  HRP will hold Lincoln Day Dinner in Feb.  Chang is on the phone raising funds in the interim.  The HRP sustaining donor program is crucial and, as more members find out about the program, can eventually sustain many of our programs.  Please go to

The Hawaii Rifle Assn (HRA) annual dinner was held the start of Nov.  Even with many HRA members having APEC duty (mostly first responders), over 200 people attended.  I sat with several of our high school shooting coaches.  Their dedication to the sport and our children shooters is incredible.  The time and personal funds they sink into enabling our children to succeed is inspiring.  On the political side, I was introduced and Democrat Rep Ito attended.  Carroll made a cameo appearance but left before he was introduced.

Republicans for Life rebooted, reformatted and reemerged as a vibrant and growing organization.  Skaf holds monthly meetings which are informative and well-attended.  Many incumbents, party leaders, and challengers attend.  The venue (Dave & Busters) is pleasantly distracting but once in the meeting room, it is all business.  Next meetings are Dec 7 and then Jan 25.  Contact Skaf ( for information.

Time to make the Honolulu City Council a part time (or no-time) job.  Last week, the Council voted itself another $600,000 of our money for their legal defense of a railroad that shouldn’t be built.

Meanwhile, your water and electricity bills are increasing at a considerably faster rate than are paychecks, if you are fortunate enough to not be one of the increasing number of unemployed in Hawaii.

A final opportunity to debate rail.  Tomorrow evening, Tues Dec 6 from 6 PM (to 8:30) at Honolulu Hale Mission Memorial Auditorium.  Both sides have been invited to present their positions.

Kudo’s to Maui county Republicans.  Maui county hosted Lingle campaign manager Lee and turned it into a fundraiser.  With a good turn out, members were glad to get a first-hand update on the campaign.  I encourage the counties to follow Maui county’s lead.  With speakers or not, get folks meeting and talking.  Raise money and identify volunteers and party members for the county to support your candidates, issues and electioneering activities.  For Clark’s Maui team, it was an opportunity for members who hadn’t been out since the last cycle to reconnect.

Honolulu TEA party members are planning events for the next several months and have begun organizing for the Apr 16 Tax Day protest (the 15th falls on a Sunday).  Kona TEA sponsors a series of speakers to highlight the national and state budget disaster.  As the Hawaii legislature and county councils compete to keep us as the citizens carrying the heaviest tax burden in the nation (usually at the top of this not-so-good-a-list but never below second place), our local Taxed Enough Already (TEA) party organizations allow us to express our dissatisfaction with the government’s role in continuing to increase the cost of living in paradise.  The next step is for TEA members to support candidates who embody their principals.

Four Presidential campaigns with Hawaii teams are in some stage of organization.  Gingrich (Clark), Cain (Slom), Romney (Rohlfing) and Paul (Pelekai) have contacts as shown.  Some have leadership teams and some have conducted activities.  Matt Romney is on Oahu December 9 and 10 for two (at least) fundraisers for his father’s campaign – contact for details.  Please, readers, let me know if there are other campaigns organizing in Hawaii.  (Latest:  Cain suspended his campaign.)

District caucus meetings are at the end of Jan-start of Feb.  Reapportionment causes district elections in most districts (usually, elections wouldn’t occur until next year).  We select delegates to our May state convention (and county conventions) and a representative to the Party ‘Platform’ committee.

Presidential caucus.  I submitted a piece for the Jan Oahu League newsletter about our scheduled Mar 13 Presidential caucus.  This week, Chang sent an eblast to HRP members to give caucus information and recruit volunteers.  For details, Walden ( is the Presidential Caucus chair.  Two campaigns (Romney, Santorum) have contacted HRP to inquire about the $5k ballot access fee.  HRP will announce polling locations.  Anyone can participate and vote for a candidate listed on the ballot.  When the votes are tallied, the local presidential campaigns will be given their allocation of delegates and alternate delegates to the Republican National Convention in Aug in Tampa.

Lingle is rolling out her policy initiatives and clearly demonstrating that a Hawaii Republican can raise funds (my not so subtle hint to our party committees, candidates and teams).  Want to know her plans for DC?  Go to  Her campaign and candidacy is a game changer.  Her announcement alone caused virtually every pundit and polling organization to change that race from solid democrat to tossup.  Carroll made his Senate announcement at HRP HQ.  Cavasso’s Senate FEC account shows he is raising funds but, to the best of my knowledge, has yet to announce.  Djou’s descriptive updates from Afghanistan are provided to supporters, sometimes poignantly, by his wife.  US House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (I worked with him as he chaired the ’08 national platform committee) headlines a Dec 28 Djou raiser, for details

For Oct, the RNC raised $8.5 million and had $13.5 million cash on hand at the end of the month.  RNC debt is down from $23-24M to $13.9M.  The DNC raised $7.9 million in Oct (including $2M for the Obama Victory Fund) and had $11.1M COH and $9M debt.  Both committees, hoping to defer some debt, look to build war chests as we enter 2012.  The NRCC beat out the DCCC in Oct, $4.6M to 4.2M.  The NRCC has more COH $13.8M (with $500k in debt) to 9.8M (with 1.3M debt).

Two months ago it was Romney and Perry.  Last month, Romney and Cain.  This month Gingrich and Romney.  Much of the time Paul has held ground around third and last week Cain dropped out.  With primaries and caucuses around the corner, no need to continue to handicap.  We’ll know soon enough the direction of the electorate.  I am watching for the most conservative candidate who can beat Obama.

The same day this Washington Times Ralph Hallow article ( came out with my comments on the drawn out nominating process, former RNC chair Gillespe took to Meet the Press and forecasted a drawn-out Primary election “This process is different for Republicans this time. We’re going to have proportion delegate allocation throughout a lot of our process – which we haven’t had…There’s not going to be much incentive to Michele Bachmann or Rick Santorum or Rick Perry or Ron Paul to drop because they’ll be likely accruing delegates along the way.”

USA Today toss up states as of Nov 4:  NV, CO, NM, IA, WI, MI, OH, PA, NH, VA, NC, FL.  The RNC includes three competitive states with their targets as of Nov 1 VA, NC, IN, OH, FL, PA, MI, NV, CO, IA, NM, NH, WI, WA, AZ.  PurplePoll focuses on the 12 states that have decided the Presidential election since ’96 – CO, FL, IA, MN, NV, NH, NM, NC, OH, PA, VA, and WI.  You can’t miss the similarities in the lists.  These are the states which are going to decide the Presidential election.

Republicans are still predicted to win the US Senate.  NYT suggests of 33 Senate races, 15 are currently competitive.  FL, OH, PA and NM lean Democratic.  AZ and ND lean Republican.  These are tossups – HAWAII (my emphasis added), MO, MT, NE, VA, WI, MA and NV.  We need to win a net of four to control the US Senate, three with the Presidency.  If both sides ‘hold serve,’ Lingle’s race very well could be a ‘decider.’  Get involved.

Virginia’s off-year elections draw a lot of campaigners because it is such a swing state.  I campaigned for Gov McDonnell’s win in ’09.  The extremely sharp TEA candidate, Cuccinelli, won the race for Attorney General then made national news leading the Virginia effort to sue the federal government over the ObamaCare individual mandate.  It appears Cuccinelli will announce his candidacy for the ’13 Gov race.  There is always an opportunity to learn new techniques, to make friends and contacts across the nation and to stay current in the craft of campaigning.

I was asked to give a Hawaii update at Grover Norquist’s (of Americans for Tax Reform and responsible for the Taxpayer’s Protection Pledge) weekly meeting in DC in mid-Nov.  Norquist’s meetings draw principals or senior staffers from conservative organizations in DC and around the nation (this time, also from Sweden).  Over 130 attended this meeting.  Three US congressmen and several VA legislators attended.  Selected speakers are allotted two minutes to give their pitch.  When one candidate speaking to solicit support began to ramble, he was cut short – “Guns-babies-taxes. Where do you stand?”  I used my minutes to discuss Republican Super PAC in Hawaii (Norquist’s request), the (Marumoto) killing of the pension tax, the probable resurrection of the soda tax, our liberal governor resorting to conservative principles to deal with public sector unions, and our contribution (Lingle and Djou in Afghanistan) to the national races.  When I mentioned Gov Lingle, Norquist appreciatively acknowledged her entry into the Senate race.  Lightest moment was the citing of Cal Thomas’ quote “I read two things every day, my Bible and the New York Times, so I know what each side is doing.”

Speaking of NYT.  They ran this interactive census map   The data can keep you mesmerized for a good while.

Hot button.  The US House, with bi-partisan agreement, passed a self-defense measure that will enable Right-to-Carry permit holders to carry concealed firearms in other states which have Right-to-Carry laws.  Only two locations (Illinois, Washington DC) do NOT have some form of carry law.  The bill does not affect existing state laws.

The forgotten one percent – the US military.  Bardenwerper writes that the OWS slogan “We are the 99 percent” is ironic to those having served in Afghanistan or Iraq.  The real one percent, the military, is ignored by the OWS protesters as well as the people they are protesting.  My comment:  Americans are blessed to be secured by a strong national defense so that people such as OWS can protest not getting what they think they deserve.

Even the liberal-leaning media understands after they’ve been there.  Tapper (ABC News) spent a week in Afghanistan with Army units.  Asked the mood of the soldiers “Incredibly positive, considering where they live and what they do……and while on this trip, I have been truly humbled by the men and women the nation has serving in its armed forces.  It sounds cliche, I know, but they really are for the most part the best: competent, positive, altruistic, dedicated.  You meet them and you feel worthless….”

Save the dates for the early Presidential caucuses and primaries:  Iowa Jan 3, New Hampshire Jan 10, South Carolina Jan 21, Florida Jan 31, and Nevada Feb 4 are the first up.  One important facet to watch will be in who’s direction the money flows (from the big donors and bundlers) after these early contests.

If the out-of-control liberal tax and fee raising and entitlement give-aways don’t make you see the need to get involved and support Republican candidates this cycle, then nothing may.  Like it or not, we have a two party system.  Conservatives, Tea party, evangelists, right leaning moderates, anyone who wants their children educated, anyone who wants to make a living …… get involved.  Eleven months to go – time to pull together.  Support the candidates you like.  Get your Republican elected and we can take back our state and nation.  To find your niche,

RNC Winter meeting.  I am attending the Jan 11-14 RNC Winter meeting in New Orleans.  The Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary will have passed so things should be interesting.  I am again working with the National Republican Conservative Caucus (NRCC) to prepare resolutions (five, so far).  We’ll also interact with legislators from Louisiana.  Louisiana, under Gov Jindal and state party Chairman Villiere’s leadership, has gone so far Republican that democrats did not even compete for the statewide offices.  (Update:  NRCC resos are now at four.  The US Senate is taking action on one issue – national security – so we won’t introduce that reso unless the Senate fails to address the issue.)

Prior to the Winter meeting, I am blessed to be spending Christmas with family (that’s the current plan).  I pray each of you are blessed with safety and comfort as we move into the new (election) year.


Thanks, Willes


Previous three:

12 Months To Go, Seems Like Tomorrow

Western Region Leadership Conference,3 parts

Back to School Report, Part I & II