Growing speculation of a Kahele run for governor sparks a ‘big game of chess’
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) — Freshman congressman Kai Kahele isn’t talking about it, but he’s been increasingly expected to run for governor — and he hasn’t denied it. .
HNN has been informed that the announcement could take place next week.
The latest photos on Kahele’s social media pages show him proudly in Washington, D.C.
It’s a change from what he’s been doing since January — voting from Hawaii and making public appearances across the state.
Colin Moore, HNN political analyst and director of the UH Public Policy Center, said the political rumor mill about Kahele’s future is working overtime. “There are so many competing rumors floating around at the moment, but I will say it will be difficult for him to show up,” he said.
Consultant Trisha Kehau Watson has volunteered for Kahele’s campaign for Congress. “It’s also part of the pilau policy. We’re seeing things come up that, to me, indicate the poll numbers show he’s a viable candidate,” Watson said.
Honolulu Civil Beat political and opinion editor Chad Blair said the situation was unpredictable.
“It’s literally changing day by day,” he said.
Meanwhile, City Council Speaker Tommy Waters withdrew documents for Congress.
“I’m still strongly considering racing if the seat is open,” Waters said in a statement.
Watson said a Waters campaign would alleviate a concern she hears.
“A lot of Hawaiians, they fear Congressman Kahele running for governor is that you would lose the only Native Hawaiian in Congress,” Watson said.
“Tommy Waters is Hawaiian. That would sort of solve that problem,” she added.
In another development, State Senator Jarrett Keohokalole is now saying he is not running for Congress and will be running for his state Senate seat. And former state senator Jill Tokuda, who was running for a crowded race for lieutenant governor, confirmed to HNN her intention to run for Kahele seat.
“Jill’s priority will continue to prioritize the needs and aspirations of Hawaii families – now at the federal level from Congress,” Tokuda’s campaign said in a statement.
Moore called the drama “a great game of chess“.
“There are so many calls and texts from various political insiders,” Moore said.
Kahele does not answer questions from HNN.
“I don’t think he’s going to run for Congress again. He already said he didn’t like it there,” Blair said.
The deadline for submission is June 7. The primary election is August 13.
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