Laura Thielen’s desire to run in the Democratic Party primary for a state Senate seat has thrown her party into conniptions.

The debate over whether to let Thielen, a former state land commissioner under GOP Gov. Linda Lingle run as a Democrat, has played out in headlines, blogs, email groups and water-cooler chats for weeks now. It first came to the public’s attention on March 31, the day Democrats officially rejected her application to run because she had missed an internal party deadline.

Civil Beat has obtained portions of an email exchange between members of the party’s State Central Committee conducted between April 10 and April 13 — the latter date just four days before Thielen announced that she would run in the primary without the party’s blessing.

The chain includes attorney Tony Gill, chair of the party’s Oahu Central Committee, former legislator Jim Shon and party stalwart Bart Dame. They are in deep discussion over the way the party handled Thielen’s application, how it played out in the media and how the party can learn from the experience.

“Everybody should relax and stop worrying about the press,” Gill writes. “The ritual hooting and hopping and throwing of fruit through the bars will die down shortly. Besides, when do we concern ourselves about what a few editorial writers say? The most important thing we can do is stick to the decision and not scatter when we get a little criticism.”

“There is plausible inference that those with a view contrary to the vote are somehow like emotional chickens with our heads cut off, foolishly reacting to the uninformed opinions of a few in the media,” counters Shon. “This is just a tad demeaning. Many have very well thought out reasons for holding a different view.”

Oahu County Democrats, who will hold their convention May 5, met over the weekend to discuss rule changes that have come as a result of the Thielen affair. Those rules changes could be voted on at the Democratic Party of Hawaii‘s state convention next month.

Here’s the email string. Civil Beat removed personal email addresses from the document.

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