HONOLULU (AP) — Former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann announced he will run for governor as an independent, saying he is more likely to win if candidates from major parties split the vote.
Hannemann said he has done well in general elections where he can appeal to voters across the political spectrum.
“I think clearly people are not happy with the way both major parties sometimes push folks to accept party platforms — or the rigidity of party platforms — either having to appeal to the far left or the far right,” Hannemann said. “I’ve always been a moderate. I’ve always been a centrist. I’ve always been independent.”
Hannemann described his independent campaign as a pragmatic way of getting to the general election. He lost to Gov. Neil Abercrombie in the Democratic primary for governor in 2010 and to U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard in the Democratic primary for Congress in 2012.
“To go into the Democratic primary, to go into the Republican primary, is like trying to play the Seahawks at home or the 49ers at home,” he said. “If I go to a neutral site, I’m better able to tell my story and clearly convince more people to vote for us.”
Abercrombie faces state Sen. David Ige in a Democratic primary. Former Lt. Gov. James “Duke” Aiona is running as a Republican.
Hannemann previously said he would consider a run if the Hawaii Independent Party was certified by the state, so his announcement ends the uncertainty about his run.
The new party filed enough signatures of registered voters with the state Office of Elections to satisfy the requirements in February.
Hannemann served as Honolulu mayor from 2005-10. Previously, he worked for George H.W. Bush when Bush was vice president.