By: D. Kennedy
In the race for Honolulu mayor, Rick Blangiardi currently holds a double-digit lead over first-time candidate Keith Amemiya. Polls from Honolulu Advertiser show 49% support for Blangiardi versus 35% for Amemiya, while 15% remain undecided.
Endorsed by former Republican Gov. Linda Lingle and the State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers Union, Blangiardi is a self-identified independent who represents a mix of balancing social issues with fiscal conservation. His name has earned recognition through his career as an American television executive. He worked as the senior vice president and general manager of KHON-TV and KGMB before leading the consolidation of KGMB and KHNL into Hawaii News Now.
He announced his candidacy in January for the 2020 Honolulu mayoral election and finished in first place on August 8 at the nonpartisan blanket primary. He will be facing the second-place finisher, Amemiya, in the November general election.
The two men traded spurs at a recent forum broadcast where Amemiya’s campaign team has been putting out a series of critical campaign ads against Blangiardi. The smears have been pieces focusing on the fact that Blangiardi said he voted for President Trump in 2016. He believes that business executives can make drastic changes to the government and insists on being a political independent.
“You’ve resorted to lies and personal attacks as your primary campaign strategy, how do you defend this approach to young people?” Blangiardi asked. Amemiya insists that his campaign stands for the truth and that they do not make baseless attacks.
Both candidates are hoping for funds regarding transit-related projects and looking to reopen businesses and other activities amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Blangiardi said he trusts our locals to wear masks, wash their hands, and practice social distancing. He’s also in favor of developing more complex testing for the incoming amount of visitors we hope to see on the island.
Blangiardi has been seeing broad support across nearly all demographics. Most voters have responded and said they found Blangiardi’s business resume better than his opponent’s. He’s not a politician, he’s a businessman. Many who are too far into politics are not really there for the people who elected them.
“I’m encouraged, I’m grateful and I’m inspired by what appears to be a strong, solid vote of confidence by a significant group of people on this island who want to allow me to have the privilege of becoming the next mayor of the City and County of Honolulu,” Blangiardi said.