In the world of Hawai‘i politics, election campaigns are generally civil. However, that rule goes out the window when a candidate is threatened and is at risk of losing. There is a no-holds-bar attack on leading candidates to thwart their progress in the polls.
Unfortunately, we see this happening now with TV ads attacking Sylvia Luke, who is leading in the polls for lieutenant governor. It’s not surprising that this type of messaging would emerge in the final weeks leading up to the primary election on August 13.
Influencing Those Who Are Undecided
According to a recent poll commissioned by the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, Sylvia Luke is leading with 21% of voters, followed by Keith Amemiya with 19% and Ikaika Anderson with 18%. Since the poll has a 5.6% margin of error, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser characterized the results as essentially a tie among these three Democratic candidates.
While the current negative campaigns may not be directed or approved by opposing candidates, the intention of those instigating these messages is to create distraction and plant seeds of doubt in a leading candidate, especially for those who are yet undecided.
How the undecideds vote can determine who will be Hawai‘i’s next lieutenant governor. According to the same Honolulu Star-Advertiser poll, 38% of Hawai‘i’s Democratic voters were undecided at the time of the poll. The door is wide open.
Standing by Our Endorsement
UHPA’s board of directors endorsed Sylvia Luke for lieutenant governor, and stand by the decision. Her decade of experience as chair of the House Finance Committee gave her insights into how state government works. She has a proven track record of getting things done.
- During the pandemic, as UH faculty rapidly pivoted to remote and hybrid learning to ensure students could earn their degrees. This was in part backed by Sylvia Luke, who ensured government operations could continue without interruption.
- When we saw our state’s unemployment rate skyrocket from 2% to nearly 22% in just five months during the early stages of the pandemic, Sylvia Luke also stepped forward to provide support for the thousands of Hawaii residents who lost their jobs and had to painstakingly navigate the unemployment insurance application process. UH faculty and support from other public-sector union members volunteered their time to ensure families could get by during that challenging period.
- Syliva Luke also witnessed firsthand what was occurring in the Senate, with constant meddling and micromanagement by certain senators. She was able to mitigate some of the effects of those decisions by taking action in the House. We need state leaders like Sylvia who understand the role of UH and the importance of the legislators sticking to their role and not trying to run the university.