Who to believe: Harry Kim or Colleen Hanabusa’s mom?

Voters don’t actually have to make that choice. But supporters of Gov. David Ige and his opponent in the Democratic primary will find two television campaign commercials featuring the Hawaii Island mayor and the mother of the U.S. representative appealing.

The 30-second Ige spot titled “Kim” features the revered mayor praising the governor for his response to the volcano crisis that began in May.

“Gov. Ige responded without any hesitation,” says Kim, as Ige is shown stern-faced, hands on hips, wearing blue jeans and just yards away from a fiery lava stream swallowing a road.

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It is not stated, but Ige’s response to Kilauea is the opposite of his response to the false missile alert. To have a figure of Kim’s significance — there is no leader in the state more associated with volcanoes and civil defense than Harry Kim — is a tremendous endorsement of the governor.

“He came through,” says Kim of Ige’s leadership.

Given that the lava still flows, and that Hawaii County is home to 200,000 people, “Kim” will help Ige.

For her part, Hanabusa will be helped by her 34-second spot, “Sushi.” It stars the candidate’s mom, June Hanabusa.

“My mother has passed on to me more than our family recipes,” says Hanabusa, seen in the kitchen with her mom.

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The clip is actually from Hanabusa’s campaign for Congress in 2010, and Hanabusa smiles and tells the camera that people still ask about her mom, who is alive and well. Mother and daughter are shown cooking.

Hanabusa then says she is reminded how much “things have changed in just eight years. So many problems have gotten worse, and I worry about losing the Hawaii we love.”

That’s why Hanabusa chose to leave Congress, she explains, to come home to take on the challenges that she implies Ige and former Gov. Neil Abercrombie were not able to take on since 2010, when Hanabusa was first elected to Congress.

Hanabusa actually first ran for Congress in 2003, in a winner-take-all special election to fill the two-year term of the late Patsy Mink. She lost.

But most voters won’t remember that. ”Sushi” shows the warm personal side of Hanabusa and it’s an ad that many voters can relate to.

Josh Green, a candidate for lieutenant governor, is a state senator from the west side of Hawaii island, but many people also know that he is a medical doctor. If they don’t, that knowledge will be inescapable after viewing his 30-second commercial, “Healthcare Is A Right.”

“As lieutenant governor, Josh will strongly protect Medicare and Social Security for our kupuna.”

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It’s not clear how a statutorily weak Hawaii LG would be able to influence national discussion on federal entitlement programs. But it doesn’t matter. Most people who watch this TV ad will come away thinking one thing: Josh Green is a doctor.

Green himself is shown no less than eight times either in his blue scrubs or his white coat. The part where Green applies his stethoscope to a keiki clad only in diapers in what appears to be a homeless camp is one of the most indelible images of the 2018 local campaign season.

A second Democrat in the LG field, Jill Tokuda, stresses family in a 31-second ad called “Responsible.” The ad makes a tie between family responsibilities and the responsibilities involved in managing state government.

Tokuda speaks in the spot about shepherding the state’s $14 billion budget while she was chairwoman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee.

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Some voters may recall that Tokuda was removed from that job in May 2017 — in her view, because, as she put it at the time, “I took a really hardline stance in terms of not wanting to extend the general excise tax for any long period of time.”

Some critics said there was growing dissatisfaction with Tokuda’s lack of collaboration with her colleagues.

One other thing: Look again at “Responsible” to see if you missed the bamboo imagery. The plant grows fast, has versatile uses and is unbending.

“Why I’m Voting Carvalho — Paula Morikami” is one of a number of short video endorsements of Kauai Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr., a third candidate in the Democratic LG field. Morikami works for the Kauai County government.

“I’ve worked for him for seven and a half years, and he totally amazes me how he is able to bring people together with totally different viewpoints,” she says.

Images accompanying Morikami’s voiceover show Carvalho meeting with all sorts of folks. It underscores one of the mayor’s biggest talking points in his campaign for LG.

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Like other Carvalho clips, this 36-second YouTube spot features the #thinkBig hashtag. The mayor is a former NFL player and arguably the largest person running for any statewide office this year.

It also includes an excerpt from a jingle that includes the lyric, “Vote Carvalho for lieutenant governor.” Some like the jingle, a reworking of a popular Hawaiian song. Others question whether jingles are really the way to go anymore, as there really hasn’t been a good one since Lei Ahu Isa ran one years ago to the tune of “Guantanamera.”

A fourth Democratic LG candidate, Will Espero, offers this 30-second clip titled, simply, “Vote Will Espero.” It packs a lot in, with the narration from the candidate himself wearing a familiar fedora and with Diamond Head as backdrop.

Espero speaks of his record of getting legislation passed to address homelessness, public safety, the environment and other issues.

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Espero’s clip concludes with contact information and an illustration of a pair of his familiar eyeglasses beneath his fedora. The longtime state senator, who resigned his seat this summer as required by law, is a long shot for LG. But as far as I know, he is the only statewide candidate who wears a hat. Branding!

Finally, the fifth Dem in the LG hunt has just released a 30-second ad called “Show the Super PACs your Vote is NOT for Sale!”

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Kim Coco Iwamoto is asking voters to reject efforts by corporate-funded super PACs to buy this election. Without mentioning it, the ad is clearly referring to the local super PAC called Be Change Now, which is spending over $1 million to make Josh Green the next lieutenant governor. The money comes from a well-heeled construction union.

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