HONOLULU (AP) — On their 16th wedding anniversary, Hawaii Democrats handed Josh Green and his wife, Jaime, a comfortable margin of victory in Saturday’s gubernatorial primary.
Green, the state’s current lieutenant governor, easily beat former first lady Vicky Cayetano and Kaiali’I Kahele, who decided to run for governor instead of a second term in the state House. -United.
Green, with lei of yellow and purple flowers and green leaves stacked up to his neck, alternated between throwing his fists in the air and giving the shaka sign to a raucous crowd of supporters at his victory party.
“In November, we will win the governorship and lead Hawaii forward,” he told the cheering crowd.
He will face former Republican Lt. Governor Duke Aiona in the general election, who defeated mixed martial arts championship fighter BJ Penn in his party’s primary.
In an interview with Hawaii News Now, Aiona said her supporters “have faith in my ability to lead the state, and I’m really, really thankful and thankful for that.”
Green served as second-in-command for the past four years to Hawaii Governor David Ige, who has already served two terms and is not eligible for re-election.
The winner of the Democratic primary is favored to win the general election in the Liberal state.
Many voters said Hawaii’s high housing costs were a major issue for them. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the median price of a single-family home exceeded $1 million in Honolulu, Maui, and Kauai counties.
To address the housing shortage, Green said he would issue an executive order to eliminate red tape and streamline building approvals and enforce existing laws to shut down illegal vacation rentals.
Aiona said he would eliminate the state Land Use Commission, which he accused of slowing housing development.
Herbert Rowland, a construction worker from Oahu, said he likes Green’s plans to tackle Hawaii’s housing problem and homelessness.
“I come from this island, I have spent my whole life there. I don’t want my kids to leave this island because it’s too expensive and they can’t find a home,” Rowland said recently, holding a green campaign sign and waving at passing cars in Honolulu.
Aiona supporter Viola Alipio said she believes he will tackle rising crime in the state. Earlier in his career, Aiona served as a family court judge and a circuit court judge. He ran the Hawaii Drug Court program, which offers rehabilitation to nonviolent offenders as an alternative to prison.
“I know him very well. I know his values — everything aligns with my values. Family, honesty, transparency,” she said at a recent Aiona sign event in Kailua.
Green was a senator and state representative before becoming lieutenant governor. He was a doctor in rural areas of the Big Island before entering politics. He continued to work part-time as a physician while in the state legislature and as a lieutenant governor.
Green developed a sequel during the COVID-19 pandemic for his explanations of infection rates and trends and hospital treatment capacity.
The state’s largest unions have endorsed his candidacy for the primary, including the Hawaii Government Employees Association and the Hawaii State Teachers’ Association.
The race heated up when Kahele and Cayetano questioned the income Green received while he was lieutenant governor of a limited liability company called Green Health International LLC. Green, who continued in his role as an ER doctor while serving as lieutenant governor, said the money was for work he did as a doctor.
For two caught the eye this year for his side job as a Hawaiian Airlines pilot and extensive use of proxy voting in Congress. Like everyone else who voted by proxy, he submitted a required letter stating he was “physically unable” to vote on Capitol Hill. He cited “the ongoing public health emergency”.
Green was born in Kingston, New York, and raised in Pittsburgh. He moved to Hawaii with the National Health Service Corps in 2000.
Kahele’s decision to run for governor opened up his congressional seat representing rural Oahu and neighboring islands.
Former State Senator Jill Tokuda defeated State Representative Patrick Pihana Branco for the Democratic nomination for that seat, Hawaii’s 2nd congressional district.
Among Republicans, former US Air Force intelligence analyst and businessman Joe Akana beat company owner Joseph Webster.
Hawaii is a mail-in voting state, so voters began mailing in their ballots and placing them in drop boxes across the islands late last month. Election clerks in each county have made available a few voter service centers for people registering to vote at the last minute or voting in person.
In the 1st Congressional District, incumbent U.S. Representative Ed Case defeated lawyer and political newcomer Sergio Alcubilla in the Democratic primary. The general election case will face former US Navy SEAL Conrad Kress, who beat two other candidates to win the Republican primary.
In the U.S. Senate race, incumbent U.S. Senator Brian Schatz defeated top Democratic challenger Steve Tataii, a dispute resolution consultant. Tataii made an unsuccessful bid for Congress in 2016.
In the Republican primary for the U.S. Senate, state Rep. Bob McDermott defeated five other candidates.