Kym Pine and other lesser-known candidates for Honolulu mayor need to build name recognition, analyst says
With less than 10 months from the election for Honolulu's next mayor, candidates are addressing the 3 big H's for Oahu residents -- homelessness, housing and HART.
Honolulu City Council member Kymberly Pine, who represents Ewa Beach, Kapolei, Wai'anae, and other areas of District One, formally announced her candidacy today, joining business executive Keith Amemiya and former state senator John Caroll.
District 43 residents may remember she represented them in the state House of Representatives from 2004 to 2012.
Pine calls herself an underdog with a nose for corruption who can take on established names in Hawaii politics.
An advantage she says in the 2020 mayoral race.
"I'm not power part of the bishop street power broker crowd. I haven't been hand selected by people in power. I have been selected by the people," Pine told KITV-4's Annalisa Burgos. "There's a lot of people getting in the race and don't have that experience of knowing when there's corruption. And so we will be passing sweeping legislation that ensures that the corruption ends at City Hall once and for all."
Pine says she wants to win back the public's trust in Honolulu Hale, and seemingly distanced herself from Mayor Kirk Caldwell.
"I probably wouldn't be making a lot of decisions that he has made," she said.
Political analyst Neal Milner says whoever wins will be responsible for the legacy of rail.
"I think what you have to do is to figure out a way that you can be critical of it when you campaign and sort of escape from it, or get involved with lots of other things and when and if you're elected," Milner says.
He adds that without an incumbent, the race has no clear front runner.
"At this stage, it certainly is a crap shoot. And that's how just as the second district congressional district is now a crap shoot, and it'll take a while for it to iron out and will take a while for the political elites to comment and say who they support, although they've been frequently wrong in the last number of years," Milner says.
According to Honolulu Star-Advertiser's Hawaii Poll last month, 62% of those surveyed recognized Pine's name, compared to 38% for Amemiya and 55% for Carroll. Pine would need strategic endorsements, should well known names like Charles Djou and Colleen Hanabusa decide to enter the race.
"I am the only candidate that is a public servant that has not run for higher office like some of the other candidates thinking of getting into the race," Pine says. "Each of those other candidates has spent over $10 million, and I haven't spent a dime yet."
"If you're not that well known at a broader level, and you gotta raise a lot of money because he's caught something and you have to start cultivating the unions and various other groups. It's never too soon to start," Milner says.
Milner says this is early days and with Tulsi Gabbard's congressional seat also up for grabs, anything can happen.