- Special Projects
My inbox overflows with emails from Doug Chin.
This week alone my Civil Beat account has received seven emails courtesy of Joshua Wisch, Chin’s special assistant. And the week isn’t over.
The emails informed me of just how great a job Chin is doing as AG:
On Saturday and Sunday, Chin apparently rested, and so there were no emails. No amicus briefs filed, no coalitions joined.
But his Twitter account was busy all week, tweeting out the very same news as his email account as well as the occasional flattering news item (e.g., a Civil Beat editorial, “Hawaii Judge Is Right To Keep Fighting Oppressive Travel.”)
Meanwhile, Google “Attorney General Doug Chin” and you’ll see 1.2 million results. The top 10 include a MidWeek cover story in July 2016 (“Return of the Intern”) and his rebuke of U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions in Time magazine for deriding Hawaii as “an island in the Pacific.”
I bring all this up to help explain, in part, why no one has declared their campaign for the 1st Congressional District seat being vacated by Colleen Hanabusa.
Sure, it’s still early, but whether or not Chin will run for Congress is a big reason why no one has officially jumped in. He is sucking all the oxygen out of the room.
Past congressional races, especially open seats like Hanabusa’s, have drawn large, compelling fields:
Chin declined to say whether he will run for Congress next year. But he did explain why he was so gung-ho on all his AG work, and it has a lot to do with the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
“I do feel that this is a very important time to assert states’ sovereignty, and by that I mean that Hawaii has long stood for many values and fought for different priorities such as diversity and inclusivity,” he said. “And so when I see what has been happening lately, it has been very troubling, as it threatens to take away so many of the values Hawaii has fought for and stood for over the many decades.”
Hmmm. Sounds like a campaign speech.
Kim, a state senator, and Kaniela Ing, a state representative, said last month they were thinking of running for CD1.
The names of state senators Brickwood Galuteria and Karl Rhoads are whispered here and there. Same for that of state Rep. Beth Fukumoto and Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell. All are Democrats.
Galuteria said he was doing his “due diligence” on possibly running, including looking at polling numbers. A decision will come by the end of the year.
But he also cautioned that it would be a major step, as he would have to leave the state Senate because his term is up next year. That is not the case for Kim and state Sen. Will Espero, who is running for lieutenant governor but may be tempted to run for Congress again.
“In this case, I have to be very thoughtful in my decision,” he said.
For his part, Djou said he is not actively campaigning for any office. But he did point out that when he ran for Congress in 2014 he did not get into the race until April of that year. When he challenged Caldwell in 2016 he did not declare until June.
So there is still a lot of time.
Shirlene Ostrov, the GOP party chairwoman, said there has been “a lot of interest” in the CD1 seat but that there would be no announcement until “we are sure we have the right candidate.”
Who knows, maybe it’s someone no one might expect.
Richard Rapoza, who has communications experience working for successful campaigns for Case, Hirono and Hanabusa, said former schools superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi would make a great candidate.
“If you survey the landscape, there are the usual suspects,” he said. “Matayoshi has never served in public office before, but I’ve known her for over 30 years. She’s smart, tough, honest, and I think she is clearly qualified for the job.”
Expect the unexpected in 2018. In the meantime, enjoy this recent tweet from Doug Chin:
— Hawaii AG Doug Chin (@AtghIgov) October 19, 2017