This pundits list

“Stan Fichtman I still wanna see your list”, came a request from a fellow political pundit on Facebook one evening after a post. That post was announcing that Hawaii Congressman Ed Case told Civil Beat that he intends to run for re-election for the House seat he holds, rather than throw his name into the ring for Hawaii governor in 2022.

In response to that request, I informed the pundit, “You have just penned the first sentence in the 101st post of Politics Hawaii with Stan Fichtman. When I post that will be the list”.

So with that introduction, allow me to provide you my insight on whom might be on the final list of candidates that will be running for Governor of the State of Hawaii in 2022.

List one: the declared candidates

The record currently shows these candidates have filed paperwork, declaring their intention to run for Governor of the State of Hawaii.

Joshua B. Green, currently Lieutenant Governor of the State of Hawaii, was elected in 2018 to that office. Running as a Democrat.

Kirk William Caldwell, currently a private citizen but former Mayor of the City and County of Honolulu. Held that office from 2013 to 2021. Former member of the Hawaii House of Representatives. Running as a Democrat.

Vicky Tiu Cayetano, the former first lady of Hawaii under her husband, former Governor Benjamin Cayetano. Founded United Laundry Services and has never held formal office before. Running as a Democrat

BJ Penn
BJ Penn
PC: “BJ Penn” by hunterbishop is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Marissa Kerns, businesswoman and former candidate for the office of Lieutenant Governor under Andrea Tupola in 2018. Running as a Republican

Paul Morgan, a former member of the Hawaii National Guard. Running as a Republican

Jay Dee “BJ” Penn III, a current mixed martial artist, holds a fifth-degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Running as a Republican according to Wikipedia.

List two: who could still throw their name into the ring

While there has been talking of several people who would toss in their name, one by one they have all fallen out. This includes but is not limited to Speaker of the State House Scott Saiki, the aforementioned Ed Case, and even (current)  Councilwoman Andrea Tuplola for a second try (she was the nominee for Governor on the Republican ticket in 2018).

With the number of withdraws of potentials with at least some name, the list of “who else” is quite small. Both listed here are going to run under the Democratic ticket, and both will immediately get recognition and money the second they announce.

Tulsi Gabbard
Tulsi Gabbard
PC: “Tulsi Gabbard” by Gage Skidmore is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

So here is that list:

Tulsi Gabbard – former state house member, a former congresswoman from Hawaii in the House of Representatives, former councilmember of the Honolulu City Council, and former candidate for president of the United States.

Derek Kawakami – current Mayor of Kauai County, a former member of the House of Representatives, and former Kauai Councilmember.

There may be a potential third name on that list – former State Senate President, Congresswoman, and candidate for both Mayor of Honolulu and Governor of Hawaii, Colleen Hanabusa. However, like others who have run and lost a series of races, it becomes immensely harder to get a win. See Mufi Hannemann, Charles Djou, and Linda Lingle as examples of this.

Anyone else at this point would have a harder time raising the profile and money necessary to make a real run for office.

Congressman Ed Case
Ed Case
PC: “Congressman Ed Case” by Waikiki Natatorium is licensed under CC BY 2.0

As for why any of them would want to jump in, there are a few factors. First off it could be that the luster of the current candidates wears off. With money looking for a winner, either of them could be persuaded to jump in and be the candidate to rally around. A similar thing happened in the First Congressional District race in 2018 when Ed Case, late in the primary race, jumped in and won in a crowded race that included Beth Fukumoto and Doug Chin.

A second could come if one of the current candidates has to drop out. Shaking up the race that much could open a window for an established candidate to jump in. A notable event similar to this was when former Honolulu Mayor Jeremy Harris, a favorite to win the Governor’s race in 2004, dropped out in 2002 thus allowing a clearer path for Linda Lingle to win.

As to who this humble pundit thinks will win, that analysis continues. Keep on checking this blog post as the race takes its form.