Nobody has completed the paperwork to run against him, but potential candidates have until June 4 to do so.

At a press conference Monday in his new downtown campaign headquarters, Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi announced his campaign for reelection. 

Behind him stood prominent community supporters, including but not limited to neighborhood board members for Waikiki and Downtown-Chinatown Bob Finley and Chu Lan Shubert-Kwock, respectively, Kincaid “Mana” Olayan of the ex-gangster ministry group God Forgives Bad Boys and Bad Girls and former Gov. Linda Lingle.

“We have our sights set extremely high,” Blangiardi said, speaking four years after he officially launched his first bid for office. “And we also know that our work is far from done.”

Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi officially launches his campaign for a second term. (David Croxford/Civil Beat/2024

Blangiardi said much of the bandwidth during his first year in office was spent handling the coronavirus pandemic, leaving little time for other priorities such as developing more affordable housing, lowering the city’s homelessness rate and public safety.

“We’ve never made an excuse about Covid, but coming in the middle of a pandemic was more than a handicap,” he said.

One thing that has changed is more of a focus on filling the city’s thousands of vacancies, an issue that Blangiardi has said wasn’t top of his mind until after he got into office. 

In an interview after the press conference, he emphasized this reliance on having a strong workforce to tackle difficult issues as one particular lesson he’s learned during this initial term.

“You have to have more than a political will. You have to have capability, commitment – you know, people who won’t fade in the face of adversity,” he said. 

The mayor has previously said he planned to run, and he recently reported collecting about $289,000 in campaign donations during the second half of 2023.

“You can’t get it done in four years, not with the direction and not with the achievements we want to make,” he told the Civil Beat editorial board in 2022.

So far, he has no confirmed competitors, but it’s still early.

Five other people have pulled papers to officially run, but as of Monday no one has returned completed documents. Potential candidates have until June 4 to do so. The Democratic primary is scheduled for Aug. 10.

For his part, Blangiardi said he plans to take care of reelection paperwork later Monday. 

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