Hawaii, according to proposed legislation, is one of only eight states in which the candidates for both governor and lieutenant governor run together in the general election but not the primary.

House Bill 413 would ask voters to amend the state constitution so that the two candidates would instead run as a team.

“The Legislature believes that amending the Hawaii state constitution to require gubernatorial nominees to select their own running mates may create a greater sense of cohesion between the governor and lieutenant governor, with the lieutenant governor potentially serving as a source of guidance and support for the governor,” the bill explains.

It continues: “The legislature further believes that a more cohesive relationship between the two offices may enhance the productivity of the state government.”

Governor David Ige and LG elect Josh Green take the stage after the first print out at Dole Cannery ballrroom.
Governor David Ige and Lt. Governor-elect Josh Green take the stage after the first print out at Dole Cannery ballroom in November 2018. Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2018

If it passes, the way this would work is that the winning candidates for governor (Democrat, Republican, other parties) in the primary election would get to pick their running mate rather than be stuck with the winning LG candidates — which means there would be no LG candidates in the primary.

The governor candidates that go on to compete in the general would select a running mate, just like presidential candidates do, as long as the LG pick is of the same political party.

House Rep. Patrick Branco said in a press release this week, “It is vital that Hawaii’s two highest elected leaders work together for the health, safety and economic renewal of our state.”

Historically, Hawaii has seen instances where LGs have later challenged their bosses electorally, notably Tom Gill versus Jack Burns back in the 1970s.

More recently, Republican Andria Tupola’s running mate in the 2018 gubernatorial election didn’t even bother to show up to a KITV debate against Democrats David Ige and Josh Green. They lost badly.

“Differences in opinions and policy will always exist, however they should not obstruct prompt decision making, especially in emergencies,” said Branco.

HB 413 has not yet been scheduled for a hearing.

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