BY MALIA ZIMMERMAN – Hawaii will be in the national political spotlight this week as reporters from around the country arrive to cover the Republican Party of Hawaii’s presidential caucus on Tuesday, March 13, from 6 to 8 p.m.
This is the first time Hawaii’s GOP will hold this type of event, which allows all state Republicans to vote for their favorite presidential candidate and add to the national delegate total count.
Hawaii’s caucus coincides with a GOP presidential caucus in American Samoa, and two presidential primaries in Alabama and Mississippi.
Hawaii has 17 delegate votes up for grabs, and Ron Paul, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum want those votes badly enough to dispatch children to Hawaii to campaign for them.
Ronnie Paul, oldest son of Congressman Ron Paul, R-Texas, toured the state capitol on Friday with his wife Peggy and John Tate, Ron Paul’s campaign manager. They held an event on Saturday in Waikiki for a diverse crowd of around 200 Ron Paul for President supporters. In an interview with Hawaii Reporter, Ronnie Paul said the entire Paul clan is involved in Ron Paul’s campaign for president including all five children, 18 grand children and great grandchildren. Ronnie Paul said: “I believe that’s because voters have had enough of the Big Government, big spending status quo – and are yearning for real change. The truth is, my dad is the only true constitutional conservative in this race. And he’s the only candidate offering real solutions to the problems we face as a nation.”
Elizabeth Santorum, daughter of former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum, arrived in Hawaii on Saturday and is attending several events while she is here to promote her father’s presidential bid. She made an appearance on the Rick Hamada Show on Monday morning. Both she and Ronnie Paul focused on government spending, growth and power as primary focuses of their father’s presidential campaign message.
Matt Romney, son of former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, arrived Sunday, and will spend the afternoon with supporters in Laie, Oahu, where there is a stronghold of Mormon volunteers.
No one from the Newt Gingrich campaign is in the islands, though Newt and his wife Callista are frequent visitors to Maui.
Hawaii is not a winner take all state, rather candidates are rewarded by their total vote count. The higher the turn out the more competition for the 17 delegate votes that will help candidates nationally get the presidential nomination.
Those unhappy with these four candidates are able to write in their own favorite candidate’s name.
David Chang, executive director of the Republican Party of Hawaii, said those wanting to participate in the Republican caucus on Tuesday should go to their assigned voting location.
There are 41 locations in all counties that are tied to the state’s 51 election districts and all are listed on the Republican Party of Hawaii web site located here: http://www.gophawaii.com/presidential-caucus-locations/
A Hawaii state identification such as a driver’s license or state ID is required, Chang said, and those already not registered as Republicans can become a party member on the spot.
If the voter has moved and that address is different than that on the state identification, Chang said a utility bill to document the new address is required.
Initial results will be announced late Tuesday evening but the final tally may change after ballots arrive from the neighbor islands by FedEx, Chang said.
The candidates will be awarded delegates depending on the outcome of the primaries and caucuses. The winner will need to woo 1,144 delegates to win the Republican nomination. The winning presidential candidate will be announced in August at the National GOP convention in Tampa, Florida, and that nominee will take on President Barack Obama, a Democrat, in the November General election.
More on the web: Hawaii GOP Chair David Chang’s interview on Fox News