Consider it a marketplace of ideas.

On Monday, Civil Beat renews an election year tradition as it begins to publish the responses of candidates to our question-and-answer surveys.

You won’t just find the frontrunners here. We’ve attempted to email the surveys to everyone on the ballot in the islands this year, from U.S. Senate to county council candidates. As long as they return them with a reasonably serious attempt at answering the questions, we’ll publish them.

Chad Blair gestures during Civil Cafe Election Trivia held at the University of Hawaii at Manoa campus. 3 nov 2016
Civil Beat Politics and Opinion Editor Chad Blair at a Civil Cafe Election Trivia event in 2016. If you’re a candidate for office anywhere in the islands, we have some questions for you. Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Candidates who think they haven’t received a survey yet should contact us by email at After all, this is a free opportunity to explain in their own words why they’re running and why you should vote for them.

That doesn’t mean they all will take that opportunity, unfortunately. In 2016, we sent surveys to over 300 candidates, but only 104 completed surveys in time for publication before the primary. We’re hoping for a considerably better response this election season, and so far they seem to be arriving at a brisk pace.

Our questions were tailored to the office sought, including Congress, governor and lieutenant governor, the Legislature, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs Board of Trustees, the Honolulu City Council and neighbor island races.

But everyone is asked to provide a little biographical information, including their background in community service. And everyone also gets a chance in the final question to bring up any issue they want.

As decision time nears, our records show that in past elections these question-and-answer surveys are among Civil Beat’s most popular content.

We hope even prohibitive favorites or unopposed candidates will care enough to share their thoughts — in their own words — with the voters.

The survey responses will appear first on our home page and in the Elections 2018 section. In addition, after it’s published each survey will be linked to the candidate’s name in our Primary Election Ballot.

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