Hawaii Republican Party
The Hawaii Republican Party is the state affiliate of the Republican Party of the United States. Based in Honolulu, the party is a central organization established for the promotion of the party platform as it is drafted in convention every other year. It is also charged with registering voters and delivering voter turnout through four major county organizations for Hawaiʻi, Kauaʻi, Maui, and the City and County of Honolulu.
As a whole, Hawaiʻi Republicans advocate for limited government, lower taxes, decentralized control of public schools, and improving the state’s business climate. Republicans have been supportive of big business plans and commitments to assist companies in the state in competing against large businesses in other states. They also usually support interstate and international commerce. For example, former Lieutenant Governor Duke Aiona has been a strong proponent of keeping the National Football League‘s Pro Bowl in Hawaii, and former Governor Linda Lingle proposed tax reduction incentives to businesses to encourage creation of work opportunities, such as hotel renovations.
In the Reform Party, a pre-statehood group that after annexation was largely sympathetic toward the Republican Party, Lorrin Thurston was a strong supporter of the formation of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. In the 21st century, Governor Lingle proposed a Clean Energy Initiative to promote clean and renewable energy resources, with the goal of making the state 70% energy self-sustainable by 2030. The initiative plans to use solar, wind, ocean, geothermal, and biomass as energy resources with a phased reduction in the use of fossil fuels.
Despite the influence of the early missionaries and despite recent national trends, the Republican party in Hawaiʻi steadily lost its Christian overtone over time. After annexation, Christians proselytized to new, incoming immigrants contracted to work on Hawaii’s growing sugar industry. This was, in large part, brought on by Farrington v. Tokushige (1927), a Supreme Court case brought by approximately 100 Japanese, Korean, and Chinese language schools, a number of which were also Buddhist religious schools, against Republican Governor Wallace R. Farrington and the Republican government for passing laws limiting the material taught in private schools, including Buddhist philosophy. The court found the laws unconstitutional and in violation of parents’ Fifth Amendment right to choose the education of their children. Duke Aiona, a Republican, presented a proclamation to the president of the Junior Young Buddhist Association in 2004 and attended the 2010 lantern festival.
Recently, the Party has been hesitant to associate itself with religion in general, with members citing the negative effects of the party’s association with the Hawaii branch of the Christian Coalition formed by Pat Robertson in 1988. The Coalition swelled Republican membership by 50%, but also gave rise to infighting; by 1993 the party had lost more legislative seats than it started with.
|Shirlene Ostrov||State Chairman|
|Jeffrey Coakley||West Hawaii|
|Lani Eugenio||East Hawaii|
Current elected officials
Members of Congress
Both of Hawaii’s U.S. Senate seats have been held by Democrats since 1976. Hiram Fong was the last Republican to represent Hawaii in the U.S. Senate and, as of 2019, is the only Republican to ever represent the state in the Senate. First elected in 1959, Fong opted to retire instead of seeking a fourth term. Former Governor William F. Quinn ran as the Republican nominee in 1976 and was subsequently defeated by Democratic challenger Spark Matsunaga.
U.S. House of Representatives
Both of Hawaii’s congressional districts have been held by Democrats since 2010. The last Republican to represent Hawaii in the House of Representatives was Charles Djou. First elected in the 2010 special election, Djou was subsequently defeated in his bid for a full term in the 2010 regular elections by Democratic challenger Colleen Hanabusa. Pat Saiki was the last Republican to be elected to a full term in Hawaii. First elected in 1986, Saiki opted not to run for re-election in 1990, instead unsuccessfully running for U.S. Senate.
Hawaii has not elected any GOP candidates to statewide office since 2006, when Linda Lingle was re-elected as governor. In 2010, term limits prevented Lingle from seeking re-election to a third term. Lieutenant Governor Duke Aiona ran as the Republican nominee in the 2010 election and was subsequently defeated by Democratic challenger Neil Abercrombie.
State legislative leaders
- 19th District: Kurt Fevella (de facto Minority Leader)
- 17th District: Gene Ward (Minority Leader)
- 36th District: Val Okimoto
- 40th District: Bob McDermott
- 45th District: Lauren Matsumoto
- 50th District: Cynthia Thielen
- Hawaii Republican Party staff (2007-07-04). “About”. Hawaii Republican Party. Retrieved 2007-07-04.
- Encyclopedia of women and religion in North America, Volume 2 by Rosemary Skinner Keller p.681
- A digest of Supreme Court decisions affecting education, Fourth edition by Perry Alan Zirkel p.135
- The Japanese in Hawaii by Roland Kotani p.62-65
- Lt. Governor’s E-newsletter July 7, 2004
- “Hawaii Floating Lantern Ceremony Inspires Awe” by Gordon Y.K. Pang, Honolulu Advertiser
- “Local GOP poised for mix of religion into politics”, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, April 22, 2009.
- Andrade Jr., Ernest (1996). Unconquerable Rebel: Robert W. Wilcox and Hawaiian Politics, 1880–1903. University Press of Colorado. ISBN 0-87081-417-6.
- Chapin, Helen Geracimos (1996). Shaping history: the role of newspapers in Hawai’i. Shaping history: the role of newspapers in Hawai’i.
- Kame’eleihiwa, Lilikala (1995). A synopsis of Traditional Hawaiian Culture, the Events Leading to the 1887 Bayonet Constitution and the Overthrow of the Hawaiian Government. (unpublished).
- Laenui, Poka (1984). East Wind, Vol. III, No. 1. East Wind, Vol. III, No. 1.
- Liliuokalani (1898). Hawaii’s Story. Tothrop, Lee & Shepard Co.