WASHINGTON — On a business trip to Washington, D.C., City Council Chairman Ernie Martin revealed to Civil Beat that he “definitely” intends to run for Honolulu mayor — at some point.

“I will run for mayor eventually,” Martin said in an interview on Tuesday. “I haven’t made a decision as to whether I will run next year.”

Martin has become more explicit about his interest in higher office in recent months. He has gone from saying a run for mayor is something he’d consider someday to making it clear that it’s a position he plans to seek.

There’s no question that the city’s District 2 representative is ambitious. He climbed the City Council ranks to become chairman just seven months after he was elected. It’s worth noting that Martin won that election — not yet one year ago — by a slim 47-vote margin.

If Martin opts to run in 2012, he’ll take on incumbent Mayor Peter Carlisle, who has won five-straight elections in Honolulu. The mayor’s race is nonpartisan, but Martin lists a group on his Facebook profile called “Commit to Get Off Your Lazy Ass and Vote Democratic on November 2, 2010.”

Most recently, Carlisle won the special election to replace former Mayor Mufi Hannemann, who stepped down to run for governor — ultimately unsuccessfully — last year. Before that, Carlisle won four Honolulu prosecutor elections.

One of Carlisle’s 2010 mayoral opponents, Panos Prevedouros, has already started fundraising for a 2012 mayoral run. Former Honolulu Managing Director Kirk Caldwell, who finished second to Carlisle in that race, has said he is not ruling out another run for mayor next year.

“I’m still in the fact-finding stage,” Martin said. “If the window of opportunity is wide enough, I’ll do it.”


Follow the latest Hawaii news from Civil Beat’s Washington Bureau at DC808.

About the Author