Gov. Cayetano prevails in Hawaii
(AllPolitics, November 4) -- Incumbent Democratic Gov. Ben Cayetano defeated Republican challenger Linda Lingle, the mayor of Maui, to win the governor's contest in Hawaii, a race dominated by economic issues.
Hawaii was largely a victim of both reduced military spending and the Asian financial crisis that cut down tourism, the state's largest industry. And the state never really pulled out of the recession the way the rest of the country did. Bankruptcies are up, and unemployment in Hawaii is higher than the national average.
Hawaii's money troubles had voters in this traditionally Democratic state looking for change in this election and that gave Republicans their best chance of holding the state's governorship in 36 years.
Republican Lingle told voters if they believed the economy is getting better, they should vote for her opponent. Otherwise, they should vote for her.
Cayetano is the nation's first Filipino-American governor. His poll numbers slumped in the final stretch of the campaign, but he raised a lot of money and had the powerful Democratic-union political machine behind him.
As Mayor of Maui, Lingle was dubbed the "Maui Miracle" by her supporters because the county she governed for nearly 8 years was barely touched by the state's economic troubles.
"Linda Lingle created 5,400 new jobs on Maui while Hawaii lost 9,000 jobs," a Lingle campaign ad touted.
But the Cayetano campaign said others deserved credit for Maui's economy. It said Democratic Sen. Daniel Inouye secured federal funding for a high-technology center and supercomputer and other Maui Democrats delivered state pork projects.
Cayetano also talked up how he streamlined his government. And he called in the big guns like Vice President Al Gore.
But Lingle did have some heavy ammo of her own. Like one-time presidential candidate Steve Forbes, and New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman. Lingle faced other money questions. Prosecutors were asked to look into a Democratic Party complaint that Lingle exceeded her voluntary $1.36 million campaign spending limit.
Lingle blamed a volunteer and immediately returned $136,000 in matching public funds.
Cayetano touted his integrity during the campaign.
During the primary campaign, the twice-divorced Lingle accused the Cayetano camp of spreading false rumors that she is a lesbian. Cayetano denied it.
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