Top leaders at the Hawaii State Legislature are throwing the full power of their legislative offices behind Colleen Hanabusa in her bid to unseat David Ige for the governor’s office.

Senate President Ron Kouchi, House Speaker Scott Saiki, Senate Ways and Means Chair Donovan Dela Cruz and House Finance Committee Chair Sylvia Luke signed a fundraising letter on Hanabusa campaign letterhead criticizing Ige for his leadership of Hawaii and seeking support for Hanabusa. Their titles appear prominently at the bottom of the letter. 

While it is not unusual for sitting lawmakers to donate to and campaign for candidates, it is unusual for such powerful people to be united in their opposition to a sitting governor. 

It also comes in the middle of the 2018 legislative session, in which the House and Senate are considering Ige’s administrative initiatives as well as a budget and legislation that will be submitted to Ige for approval.

Colleen Hanabusa formally launched her campaign for governor Jan. 8, arguing that Hawaii is hungry for strong leadership. Anthony Quintano/Civil Beat

Before his surprise election in 2014, in which he unseated fellow Democrat Neil Abercrombie, the governor previously served with Kouchi, Saiki, Luke and Dela Cruz. But the fundraising letter makes clear that they want a change on the fifth floor of the Capitol, where the governor has offices.

“Today, our state is at a crossroads,” the letter begins. “As a result of inattention, indecision and inaction on the part of the Governor’s Office, many of the challenges facing our communities have gone unanswered — some have even grown worse. It is not enough for our state’s top officials to continually observe or indicate something needs to be done, but never be clear exactly what that is or how to get it done.”

The letter says that Kouchi, Saiki, Dela Cruz and Luke are united behind Hanabusa, a former Senate president, who they say will “provide the clear vision and decisive leadership our state requires.”

Suggested Donations: $1,000

The letter asks recipients to join the leaders next Wednesday at Artizen by MW at the Hawaii State Art Museum. The suggested donations range up to $1,000.

Keith DeMello, spokesman for Hanabusa’s campaign, could not say how many people the letter was sent to.

An inquiry to the Ige campaign was not immediately answered Thursday.

The governor has publicly stated that he has not done a very good job promoting his accomplishments while in office but remains confidant of his re-election once voters learn about his record.

The fundraiser invite comes in the same week that a poll by the Honolulu Star-Advertiser shows Hanabusa with a 20-point lead over Ige.

The primary is Aug. 11.

Hanabusa Letter (Text)

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