U.S. Rep. Mark Takai was not able to attend the Democratic Party of Hawaii’s state convention at the Sheraton Waikiki Sunday.

But he let delegates know through a spokesperson that he intends to help elect “a progressive champion to represent Hawaii in Congress – someone like Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa – who can deliver resources and results for Hawaii.”

Takai’s words stopped short of a flat-out endorsement but did signal he plans to play a role in the 2016 elections, especially to defeat Donald Trump, the presumed Republican nominee for president.

Congressman Mark Takai. 20 feb 2015. photograph Cory Lum/Civil Beat
U.S. Rep. Mark Takai. Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Hanabusa, the former U.S. representative, is widely believed to be seeking to replace Takai, who is battling cancer.

Dylan Beesley, a spokesperson for Takai’s campaign, said the congressman was resting in Washington, D.C.

At the convention, he read a statement from Takai, which said in part:

My fellow Democrats: I’m sorry I can’t be there to deliver this message in person, but please know that I am thinking about you and send my aloha and best wishes for a successful final day of convention. …

Right now, for the sake of my family, I need to focus on getting better rather than getting re-elected. …

Although I will not be seeking re-election this fall, there is still much work that I am determined to see through for Hawaii and our nation during the remainder of my term in Congress. …

And I will be by your side in the fight to make sure Donald Trump never, ever becomes president of our great nation.

At the convention, U.S. Sen Brian Schatz called on delegates to take out their cell phones and declare in unison, “We love you, Mark,” and then text it and post it on social media.

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