The first face-to-face showdown between Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie and David Ige happened Tuesday at a candidates forum at the Japanese Chamber of Commerce.
Ige is challenging the governor in the Democratic primary.
If the sellout crowd came for fireworks, there was more fizzle than sizzle in this first forum between candidates.
Both men support development of Kakaako in providing homes for Hawaii's people. Neither of them said they would raise the state general excise tax.
They do differ though on who's to blame for problems with the Hawaii Health Connector.
"The Health Connector has been a disaster. We have spent so much money. More than $204 million has been spent on the Health Care Connector," Ige said.
"What is the Health Connector? It's completely a creation of the Legislature," Abercrombie said. "My friends, the Health Connector didn't suddenly appear."
"The health care board of directors has four cabinet members sitting on the board who have been directly involved with every single decision that the Health Care Connector has made since its inception," said Ige. "To pretend like the governor is not involved with the Health Connector is, I think, absolutely inaccurate."
"As long as we're doing a tete-a-tete here, I will point out to you ladies and gentlemen the four cabinet members sit there because the Legislature says they have to absolutely," replied Abercrombie.
Both candidates support education and native Hawaiian sovereignty.
They both discussed the possibility of the legislature passing a bill to legalize casino gambling.
"I would absolutely veto it," Ige said. "I think that it kills jobs. I believe that it brings social ills that have no purpose in Hawaii. I believe casino gambling would change Hawaii forever for the worst."
"I think when it comes to gambling, the principle veto would be everyone who flies Hawaii to Las Vegas to the California hotels," said Abercrombie. "The Honolulu Star Advertiser would have its big advertising sections. I don't see any possibility (that) you (are) going to get any casino. You're never going to get to the point of having to veto it."
Abercrombie and Ige have only committed to a few appearances together before the Aug. 9 primary.