Spring 2006 Home   Newsletters

June 2006

August 2006

President's Message: Thoughts on State Council 2006 (Sue Irvine)
Florida League Takes on Frightening Legislation (Mary Anne Raywid)
Why Don't More Good Candidates Run? (Carol Bain)
Violence Prevention Committee to Meet (Suzanne Meisenzahl)
Helene Hale's Legacy (David Shapiro)
Legislative Report (Jean Aoki)
League Goals and Objectives (Jackie Parnell)
National Convention
Fate of Full Public Funding of Campaigns (Kory Payne)
Women's Suffrage (Jean Aoki)
Chapter Reports - Honolulu (Piilani Kaopuiki)
Chapter Reports - Kauai
Chapter Reports: Hawaii (Marianna Scheffer)

Why Don't More Good Candidates Run?

I ran unsuccessfully in 2002 for Kauai County Council and just recently ran for Kauai Island Utility Cooperative [KIUC] Board in March 2006. In 2006 I lost by 159 votes to three candidates who had never been to a single KIUC Board meeting prior to the election process.

What was stacked against me is the old "machine," which was effective in getting the vote out for one candidate whose main platform statement was that he was very young. The other thing that defeated me was local name & name recognition, which all three winners had. Finally, one candidate who does not even live on Kauai but had the organized union vote beat me by 159 votes. I don't think I will ever be able to get the Longshoremen's' union to support me, although maybe the Carpenter's union would someday.

On Kauai, my experience running for elected office taught me several things:

  1. a non-incumbent challenger running for Council seat.needs to spend a minimum of $10,000 - 15,000 to get through the primary. Spend it early on making a good first impression. [Incumbents already have name recognition and are going to get many thousands of dollars with little effort on their part. This will be a big advantage for them. Non-incumbents must raise their own funds and even so may not get their name recognized by the voter.]
  2. Many "locals" who cared said it would help if I had a local name (it is easier but not required) Also helps to have a "hapa" family through marriage, though fortunately this is not required.
  3. Research has shown the apparent reluctance of some Americans to vote for women. Such gender bias has been repeatedly found in surveys using hypothetical questions about potential candidates (PsycJournal of Social Psychology, 6/2002). I really don't know whether this is a problem in Hawaii.
  4. Run a "clean" campaign. However, if a PAC does some mud-slinging, hope it lands on your opponents only.
  5. All candidates need a realistic time line to implement marketing/ campaign strategy
  6. A successful candidate needs a campaign manager and as many volunteers as one can find. and/or extended "family" and/or a large support structure. This means a lot of volunteers who will do more than write a check but who will actually show up to stuff envelopes, etc.
  7. The candidate really must want to do this - it is a public service to run as well as to become an elected office holder.

It is not impossible to take back our local government... just a lot of hard work. It's actually going to take getting new voters to come out and vote. This is very difficult because many have given up on the system and deliberately avoid caring. This brings me to the real problem: It is much easier not to care. It takes emotional energy to care. Because the one you want to win may lose. This really bothers people and it seems to reinforce their negative attitude.

Somehow, we have to get people to care enough to register, and then care enough to vote.

There is a psychological issue with voting. Why is it some people get addicted to gambling even though they lose, but the same does not occur with voting?

Carol Bain
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