Independent party forms

Organizers for the Hawaii Independent Party had enough signatures of registered voters to meet state Office of Elections requirements for certification.

The Star-Advertiser reported Friday that the new party will try to field candidates for the 2014 general election, possibly headed up by a run for governor by former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann.

If true, Hannemann would likely be in a three-way race against Democratic incumbent Neil Abercrombie and Republican James “Duke” Aiona. Aiona has not formally announced his candidacy, but it is assumed he will challenge Abercrombie again as he did in 2010.

A recent poll showed Aiona leading Abercrombie by 8 percentage points in a two-way race. A separate question in the poll said that 39 percent of the electorate would consider voting for Hannemann if he entered the race as an independent.

At first glance, a third-party entry into the governor’s race would seem to benefit Abercrombie. Aiona and Hannemann would probably split moderate and conservative votes, clearing the way for an easy re-election for Abercrombie.

But when the poll results were first announced, Hannemann’s opinion was that 39 percent might be enough to win the governorship in a three-way race. “Consider voting for,” though, is not actually pulling the lever.

In any event, clearly the big loser in a three-way race is Aiona or whoever the eventual Republican candidate is. Hannemann appeals to many of the moderate voters that would be needed for a GOP win.

The Hawaii Independent Party will make the 2014 election even more interesting. It will also be worth watching to see if the independents can field any solid candidates for state House and Senate seats or the congressional races.

And what about the U.S. Senate race? Anybody seen Ed Case recently?

* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.