Thirteen of Hawaii’s state legislators are shoo-ins for re-election. All they had to do was file as candidates by Tuesday’s deadline, because no one else wanted the offices badly enough to cast their lots with voters.
The lack of candidates isn’t as prevalent on Kaua’i, thankfully. While leaders of the state Republican and Democrat parties moan about the shortage of a few good men and women for legislative campaigns, Kaua’i voters are assured of choices for their state representatives.
The GOP came up with opponents for two of the Democratic incumbents representing Kauaians in the Legislature. Juan Lugo, former Kaua’i County Republican Party chairman, will take on Rep. Ezra Kanoho.
John Hoff, a contractor, will challenge Rep. Bertha Kawakami. For the third Democratic incumbent, Rep. Mina Morita, the opposition is from the Natural Law Party’s Ann West-Tickle.
The list of candidates is short, but at least there’s a list. There are few worse things in the political process than a candidate with a free ride into office. Without contested races, there is no real debate of issues, and without debate, there is little reason for voters to pay attention.
And with inattentive voters, there are elections-as-usual.
The public deserves better.