The chair of the Hawaii Republican Party is urging party members to disavow the candidacy of the GOP nominee for the 2nd Congressional District, which represents the neighbor islands and rural Oahu.
“I want it understood by the general public and the media that the recent inflammatory comments made by candidate for Congress (CD2) Angela Kaaihue do not represent the views, values, or the sentiments of our Party and its members,” Fritz Rohlfing said in a statement issued late Friday. “Her vulgar, racially-bigoted, and religiously-intolerant descriptions of Democratic Party candidates are offensive, shameful, and unacceptable in public discourse.”
Rohlfing added, “I unconditionally denounce her despicable statements.”
On Tuesday, Kaaihue issued a press release from her campaign directly attacking the religion of her Democratic opponent, U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, and that of former Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa.
Kaaihue also called Hawaii a “Devil Democratic State,” condemned a “local dumb mentality” and said that if “my neighbor Gov. Ige and his Japanese constituents” would settle a legal dispute over land that she said she is involved with, she would drop out of the race.
“Then Hawaii, YOU can have YOUR so-called ‘perfect’ pathetic Hindu 1000 GODS leader along with YOUR pathetic ‘career politician’ Buddhist Hanabusa, and your pathetic American Traitor, And my family and I will go our merrily way,” Kaaihue said. She also ridiculed Gabbard’s “moon-crater cheeks.”
Gabbard is Hindu, Hanabusa is Buddhist and Ige is Japanese-American. Kaaihue is a Christian running on a platform based on instilling religion in government.
Kaaihue supports Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, who has come under fire for comments about banning Muslims from entering the country, implying Filipinos belonged to a “terrorist nation” and wanting to build a wall to keep Mexican “rapists” and “drug dealers” from entering the country.
Reached by phone Saturday, Kaaihue criticized Rohlfing for leading a “disenfranchised party” and suggested Rohfing had “slammed” her for her religious views.
“I am talking about God, preaching about God, restoring his kingdom back into Hawaii,” she said. “This is God’s country, America is God’s country. I am trying to educate people about that.”
Kaaihue said there was a war going on between “the righteous and the unrighteous, between God and Satan.” Rohfing’s denouncement of her candidacy, she suggested, demonstrated “how we are being deceived by Satan, the biggest liar and deceiver.”
She said Rohlfing needed to “be careful” because he was taking on “the messenger of God.”
“‘Angela’ means messenger of God,” she said. “My whole family is Christian.”
The candidate also goes by Angela Kaaihue Aulani.
Kaaihue said “Aulani” is Hawaiian for angel. Other translations are king’s messenger.
Rohlfing did not return media inquiries Saturday. Messages were left as well with Gabbard’s campaign and Tim Vandeveer, chair of the Democratic Party of Hawaii.
Kaaihue, 42, said she was born in Austin, Texas, and moved to Hawaii as a baby when her father was transferred to the islands by the U.S. Army. She describes herself as a real estate developer and administrator.
Kaaihue initially pulled papers for several Hawaii races this year, ultimately settling on the CD2 contest. She won the GOP primary with 7,449 votes to Eric Hafner’s 5,874, though 6,314 ballots were left bank.
Gabbard easily defeated Shay Chan Hodges in the Democratic primary, 80,024 votes to 14,643.
There are many similar charges. On her campaign website, meanwhile, she states that she is “Neither Democrat nor Republican, I’m simply American!” She also lays out a platform that calls for building rail, solving homelessness, supporting “ethnic cultural diversity” and advancing a plan for Hawaiian sovereignty.
Kaaihue has a years-long arrest record, including family abuse in 2005 and a history of violating restraining orders that police officers and others filed against her for harassment.
In 2013, she was found guilty of harassing Honolulu Police Officer Gary Montalbo. She was given six months probation and ordered to undergo mental health treatment, stay away from Montalbo, remove blogs on social media and quit making false accusations.
In May 2014, prosecutors filed a motion to revoke her probation, saying that in December 2013 she contacted Montalbo and had failed to remove the online posts.
That motion was denied but a bench warrant was issued and eventually was served in May 2015.
The court subsequently ordered Kaaihue to undergo a mental health exam. A doctor determined she was “fit to proceed,” and so the case moved forward last August. It was ultimately dismissed in April.
Kaaihue said her probation was lifted earlier this year.
As for the harassment incident, she described it as a “run-in” in which the cop allegedly called her a “b-i-t-c-h” and she responded by saying “f-u.”
“I said, ‘I know where you live,'” Kaaihue recalled.
She said she turned herself in and that felony counts of threatening were reduced to a petty misdemeanor, for which she received probation. The judge, she said, ordered the mental examination because he objected to her speaking in Hawaiian in court.
“The judge, the cop, almost all the court reporters, the prosecutors, they are Japanese,” she said. “They are racist; they have a samurai code.”
Asked about her ethnicity, Kaaihue said she did not want “to get into it. But I am not Japanese.”
Kaaihue’s online campaign material features a photo of Howard Kim, her boyfriend who posted bail for her in the past, wearing a police uniform and making the statement, “I’m healthy and cancer-free!”
The statement appears to refer to U.S. Rep. Mark Takai, who was diagnosed with cancer last fall and who dropped out of his re-election bid in May. Takai died in July.
Kim, who finished third in the Democratic primary for the 1st Congressional District, has filed to run in the special election to complete the remainder of Takai’s term in office.
The special election also features Hanabusa, who won the primary with far more votes than Kim and five other candidates combined.
Campaign materials identify Kim as a 15-year veteran of the Honolulu Police Department and of Japanese, Korean, Puerto Rican and Hawaiian ancestry.
“Here is your Hawaiian man!” proclaims an Aug. 16 press release from Kim.
Kaaihue has hinted that she might drop out of the CD1 race.
“Unless I see a huge turn-around or a Significant sign from GOD, I ask myself why should I put myself and my family through this grueling uphill battle ugly road for the next 3 months?” she wrote in her Tuesday press release.
Asked about the status of her candidacy Saturday, Kaaihue said she was willing to drop out if Ige would help resolve a legal dispute she has with the Newtown Estates Community Association. The association represents single- and multi-family residences in Aiea on Oahu.
It is unclear what the legal dispute is about, but her campaign website says that it involves a lawsuit against an 82-acre parcel in Waimalu she says is owned by her family.
Kaaihue said Ige is her neighbor, as was the late Takai. Ige represented Aiea and Pearl City in the state Senate before becoming governor in 2014, while Takai represented Halawa-Newtown-Aiea when he served in the state House.
Kaaihue said she would also remain a candidate if she should earn a high-profile endorsement.
“I hope to win the Hawaiians and the Americans over, from my knowledge and from my heart,” she said. “That’s how I speak. I stand up as an American.”
Get engaged! Join in the discussion of candidates and issues in the 2016 elections in our new Facebook Group, Civil Beat Politics. Connect with others and learn how to get involved in community issues that are central to this year’s elections.