HONOLULU (AP) — Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s Democratic primary opponent David Ige will be allowed to speak at the party’s state Democratic convention in May after all, following complaints by his campaign.
Ige’s advisers complained to the Democratic Party of Hawaii last week after learning he and other candidates would not be able to address delegates from the convention podium.
The party reversed course Tuesday evening when its executive committee met privately and agreed to allow Ige five minutes to speak.
Abercrombie and seven other top elected officials also will be allowed five minutes each to speak.
“There is a feeling that in this particular case, Ige is a more viable candidate as an opponent of the governor at this point in time,” party Chairman Dante Carpenter said.
Carpenter said speakers will be expected to report on the party’s platform, not openly campaign for office.
Ige said he was pleased that he would get an opportunity to speak.
“It was something that I thought was fair, and it has been the tradition to allow it to happen,” said Ige, who is a state senator.
Ige had blamed the exclusion on Abercrombie. An aide to the governor’s deputy chief of staff is planning the convention.
Party officials, however, had said that shortening the event to two days made it impossible to allow all candidates to speak.
The governor sent a letter to Carpenter earlier Tuesday volunteering to yield some of his time at the convention so other gubernatorial candidates could speak.
“In my role as governor, I was asked to address delegates at the Hawaii Democratic Party Convention,” Abercrombie said in a statement, noting that with his offer to share a portion of his time, he hoped “that convention delegates will be able to hear the many diverse voices of the Democratic Party.”
Other candidates will be directed to a meat-and-greet event.
Information from: Honolulu Star-Advertiser, http://www.staradvertiser.com