House

Hawaii rep says he will ‘reassess’ political future amid calls to run for governor

Rep. Kai Kahele (D-Hawaii) pays respects to slain U.S. Capitol Police officer William "Billy" Evans as he lies in honor at the Capitol in 2021
AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, Pool

Hawaii Rep. Kai Kahele (D) says he will “reassess” his political future after hearing from Aloha State who think he should run for governor.

Kahele told Hawaii News Now in an interview this week that he is committed to serving his second year in the House, but that he will consider his future going forward.

“I think listening to the people is the most important thing I can do right now, and I’m committed to serving my second year in Congress and doing the best job I can and, you know, I’ll reassess what my political future looks,” he said.

Pressed on if people have asked him to jump into the gubernatorial race, Kahele said, “There’s been a lot of calls lately.”

For the short term, however, the Democrat said he is “focused on listening to my constituents,” adding that many across Hawaii are “not happy with the direction that the state is headed in.”

“And they’re having a difficult time getting behind any of the current candidates that are running for governor,” he added.

Kahele was elected to the House in November 2020 to fill the seat vacated by former Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D), who decided not to seek reelection that year so she could focus on her presidential campaign.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige (D), who was first elected in 2014, is blocked from running for reelection because of term limits.

A number of other Democrats are already running for the party’s nomination, including Lt. Gov. Josh Green, former first lady of Hawaii Vicky Cayetano and former Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell.

On the other side of the aisle, developer Peter Savio, UFC fighter BJ Penn and Big Island business consultant Paul Morgan have all been floated as potential GOP candidates for governor, according to Hawaii News Now.

Kahele made headlines last month during a hearing for the House Armed Services Committee, where he raised alarms regarding water contamination near Pearl Harbor. It came after the Hawaii State Department of Health discovered petroleum products in water from the Navy’s system that 93,000 people utilize.

Tags 2022 2022 midterm elections 2022 midterms David Ige Election 2022 Hawaii Kai Kahele Tulsi Gabbard

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