Every four years since statehood in 1959, Hawaii has elected a governor for one or more four-year terms. No governor may serve more than two successive terms but having served two terms can sit out one election cycle and run again. Candidates must be at least 30 years old; be a Hawaii resident for five consecutive years; and cannot serve other professions or paid positions during his term.
Hawaii requires that candidates for statewide and federal offices obtain signatures from 25 registered voters and pay a filing fee to get on the ballot. County elective positions and seats in the Hawaii Legislature require 15 signatures and a filing fee. Filing fees vary depending on the office sought.
In Hawaii, voters do not have to pick a party when they register. This means that voters can choose which primary to participate in. However, they may only vote in one primary and not switch between parties for various offices.
Hawaii election law makes it difficult for nonpartisan or independent candidates to move on to the general election. They must secure 10 percent of the total votes cast in all primaries for their race or secure as many votes as one of the nominated party candidates.
In 2014 David Ige a former Democrat State Senator who led the powerful Ways and Means Committee, defeated the incumbent governor, Neil Abercrombie, in the state primary and went on to roll over the Republican nominee, Duke Aiona, to become the state’s eighth governor and the first Okinawan elected to the top post. Ige is an electrical engineer and a graduate of the University of Hawaii, Manoa.
Previous governors are:
William F. Quinn, Republican, 1959 to 1962;
John A. Burns, Democrat, 1962 to 1974;
George Ariyoshi, Democrat, 1974 to 1986;
John D. Waihee, Democrat, 1086 to 1994;
Ben Cayetano, Democrat, 1994 to 2002;
Linda Lingle, 2002 to 2010;
Neil Abercrombie, 2010 to 2014;