HONOLULU (KHON2) — The seats of the entire Hawaii Legislature will be up for a vote on this year’s election ballot and party leaders said they are doing what they can to have a strong voter turnout, despite bribery allegations against two former legislators.
Democrats and Republicans both agree on one thing, the corruption allegations against former Senate Majority Leader Kalani English and former Representative Ty Cullen will be part of this year’s election campaign platform.
“It taints everyone,” Republican Party of Hawaii Chair Lynn Finnegan said. “Just because they were prominent Democrats doesn’t mean that people will just excuse the fact that Oh, Republicans must be the ones to trust.”
Meanwhile, the Democratic Party of Hawaii Chair Tyler Dos Santos-Tam said it will be important for candidates to place transparency and trust at the forefront of their campaigns.
“I think voters are going to be looking for a change,” Dos Santos-Tam said. “And I think the elected officials who are running for re-election, as well as new candidates, are going to have to speak to that.”
Mid-term elections see less voter turnout than in presidential races, but this mid-term is particularly important for the parties. Every single seat in the legislature will be up for grabs due to redistricting.
“They’re going to have to get out and meet the voters face to face, they’re going to have to do as much campaigning as they can,” Dos Santos-Tam said. “And hopefully they can also talk about the results that they’ve delivered for the community.”
Political expert Dr. John Hart said the allegations involving a former top Democrat could put freshman candidates or those who have never been elected to office in a better position
Dr. Hart said, “People like Pat Branco, they now have an advantage because, you know, they’re too beginning to be involved in this. So I think this might encourage an anti-incumbency wave.”
Check out more news from around Hawaii
Hart said the allegations could also boost the Republican party. It will be up to Hawaii’s GOP to put strong candidates on the ballot.
Finnegan said, “This is the time pay attention, read more, don’t just vote Democrat because it says Democrat on the ticket, vote for the best possible candidate.”