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Hawaii Filing Closes; Most Minor Party Candidates Since Statehood

Published on June 4, 2014, by in Uncategorized.

Hawaii primary filing closed on July 3. This year, there are 21 candidates running in minor party primaries, the greatest number since statehood in 1959. All minor parties in Hawaii nominate all of their candidates in the August 9 primary. There are also eleven independent candidates.

The minor party candidates include sixteen Libertarians, three from the Independent Party (a new party formed this year), and two Greens. One of the Greens is Keiko Bonk, who is again running for the State House against the Democratic speaker, Calvin Say. In 2012 Bonk received 3,143 votes; Say received 5,704 votes; and the Republican nominee placed third with 1,179. The November 2012 election in this district was marred when polling places in areas in which Bonk was strongest ran out of ballots.

The Libertarian Party hopes to poll enough votes with its legislative candidates to retain its place on the ballot in 2016. In 1999 the law was changed, to provide that if a party polls for its legislative candidates a number of votes that equals 2% of all the votes cast in all legislative races, then it remains on the ballot. There are 64 legislative races up this year, and Libertarians are running in twelve of them. In five of the races, the Libertarian will be in a two-candidate race in November, and so there is a reasonable chance that the Libertarian Party will be the first minor party to retain its spot on the ballot via the 1999 “2%” amendment.

It is difficult to predict how many independent candidates will be on the ballot in November. Hawaii treats independent candidates (for office other than President) very severely. They can’t be on the November ballot unless they poll the lesser of: (1) 10% of the primary vote for that office; or (2) a number of votes that exceeds a partisan primary winner in that same race. Typically independent candidates have no chance of getting on the November ballot unless they are lucky enough to be running in a race in which a minor party person is also running, because few voters typically choose a minor party primary ballot, so the independent hopes there is a minor party entry in the race. Thanks to Bob Johnston for the news about the Hawaii candidate list.

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