The Democratic Party of Hawaii will come together for three days of meetings and speeches at the Hilton Hawaiian Village beginning today.
Leaders are sure to boast of a proud political history and the diverse membership under the party’s big tent.
But it will hardly be a love fest. Behind all the smiling faces at the Hilton there will no doubt be anxiety and hard feelings, too, because a lot of political careers are on the line.
As of Thursday party officials were still struggling to schedule slots for all the speakers. But here’s what we know:
Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann and former Congressman Neil Abercrombie are expected to address delegates Saturday around midday, about an hour apart. Abercrombie will probably shout into the microphone, though he doesn’t need one. Maybe Hannemann will sing “Hawaii, My Paradise.” (“Where I live there are rainbows …”)
Expect each candidate for governor to be welcomed enthusiastically with campaign-T-shirt-wearing supporters. Cue red, white and blue balloons and maybe “Don’t Stop” (thinking about tomorrow) by Fleetwood Mac.
Sunday morning we’ll see U.S. Sens. Daniel K. Inouye and Daniel Akaka speak, along with U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono. Inouye and Hirono are running for re-election but thus far face no serious challenger in either the primary or general.
The big question: Will Hanabusa-mentor Inouye publicly diss the apostate Case like he did at the 2006 convention when Case challenged Akaka?
“I am sure some people will wish I wasn’t at the convention, but I have been a Democrat for 30-plus years,” Case told Civil Beat. “I don’t intend at all a campaign speech. I intend to speak about the larger picture about being a Democrat.”
Case reiterated that he is indeed still a candidate for Congress.
“Colleen got a pass during the election and will not get one in the primary election,” he said, adding that he expected a “difficult and heated” battle.
Hanabusa strongly disagrees with Case’s take on the special election.
“What Ed said is unfortunate, because far from having a free ride our campaign recovered after being called irrelevant,” said Hanabusa. “That was a major task.”
Hanabusa also disputes any notion that local Democrats are not unified.
“I am always amazed that people feel that somehow having the ability to give voters a choice is divisive,” she said. “The day after the primary, at the party’s unity breakfast, we always come together.”
As an example, Hanabusa pointed to 2006, when 10 Democrats — including well-known ones like Hanabusa — competed in the primary for the 2nd Congressional District. Hanabusa ran a close second to Hirono.
A half-dozen credible candidates for lieutenant governor will also be on hand at the convention, and probably others running in the nonpartisan race to replace Hannemann as mayor.
There will also be committee meetings to draft platform resolutions; town hall confabs over Hawaiian, organized labor, energy and economic issues; and coffee service and cocktail parties.
(Note to members: I’ll be tweeting from the Democratic convention and walking into various meeting rooms until I am politely told to leave.)
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