Hawaii GOP ends membership for House candidate
On Sunday, the chair of the Hawaii Republican Party issued a statement on the termination of Angela Kaaihue's membership.
The chair of the Hawaii Republican Party has been urging party members to disavow the candidacy of the GOP nominee for the 2nd Congressional District after she repeatedly made offensive remarks about religion and race toward her Democratic opponent, U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and other Hawaii leaders.
“I want it understood by the general public and the media that the recent inflammatory comments made by candidate for Congress (CD2) Angela Kaaihue do not represent the views, values, or the sentiments of our Party and its members,” Fritz Rohlfing said in an earlier statement. “Her vulgar, racially-bigoted, and religiously-intolerant descriptions of Democratic Party candidates are offensive, shameful, and unacceptable in public discourse. I unconditionally denounce her despicable statements. I strongly urge all Hawaii Republicans to join me in disavowing her candidacy.”
On Sunday, Rohlfing released another statement, this time on the official termination of Kaaihue's membership:
"In accordance with the Rules of the Hawaii Republican Party, our Party has terminated the membership of Ms. Kaaihue based on her public statements on social media that she is 'not a Republican'. Additionally, Ms. Kaaihue has filed as a Democrat in the upcoming Special Election for the remainder of the term of the late U.S. Representative Mark Takai in Congressional District 1."
The decision to terminate Kaaihue's membership comes after her derogatory remarks on Japanese Americans surfaced on social media.
Kaaihue also faced earlier backlash for her campaign signs declaring that she was "healthy and cancer free." Kaaihue had previously wanted to run for the seat occupied by late U.S. Rep. Mark Takai who later lost his battle with pancreatic cancer.
For the upcoming special election, the Hawaii Republican Party now endorses Shirlene Dela Cruz Ostrov, a retired Air Force colonel with more than 23 years of active duty military service. Ostrov is currently a small business owner for a logistics consulting company.
"Colonel Ostrov's unquestioned integrity, spirit of service, aloha for all, and concern for Hawaii's people without make her the best choice to represent us in the United States Congress," said Rohlfing.
The special election will be held on November 8th along with the general election.
The special election has no primary election to winnow down the candidate field leading up to the general election. Instead, it is a pure "winner take all" election. Therefore, as in the 2010 special election that elected Republican Charles Djou to fill the vacancy created by then-Congressman Neil Abercrombie's resignation to run for governor, the GOP is throwing all of its support behind a single candidate in the field.