Mufi Hannemann

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Mufi Hannemann
Mufi Hannemann.jpg
Former candidate for
Governor of Hawaii
PartyHawaii Independent Party
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 4, 2014
Term limitsN/A
Prior offices
Mayor of City and County of Honolulu
Bachelor'sHarvard University (1976)
Date of birthJuly 16, 1954
Place of birthHonolulu, Hawaii
ProfessionTeacher, businessman
Campaign website
Mufi Hannemann campaign logo
Mufi Hannemann (b. July 16, 1954, in Honolulu, Hawaii) was a Hawaii Independent Party candidate for Governor of Hawaii in the 2014 elections.[1] Mufi Hannemann lost the general election on November 4, 2014.

Hannamann was the Democratic mayor of the city and county of Honolulu from 2005 to 2011.[2]

Hannemann last sought election in 2012 as a Democratic candidate for U.S. House representing the 2nd Congressional District of Hawaii.[3] He was defeated by Tulsi Gabbard in the Democratic primary.[4]

Hannemann announced his independent candidacy for Governor of Hawaii on April 24, 2014.[1] Although Hannemann had long been affiliated with the Democratic Party, he petitioned to certify the Hawaii Independent Party for placement on the 2014 ballot. In order to run on the Hawaii Independent Party ticket, Hannemann had to collect a minimum of 706 signatures from registered voters, which is equal to one-tenth of 1 percent of statewide registered voters from the previous statewide general election as required by Hawaii election law.[5]


Hannemann was born and raised in the Honolulu area and graduated from the Iolani School. He left Hawaii after high school to study music at Harvard University, graduating in 1976. Hannemann earned a Fulbright Scholarship at the Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand.[6] He later returned to Honolulu and took a job at his alma mater, the Iolani School, where he taught history and coached the school's basketball team.[7]

Hannemann segued from teaching into a career in government when he was tapped to serve as special assistant to both George Ariyoshi, who was the Hawaii governor at the time, and President Jimmy Carter. In the latter position, he worked closely with the United States Department of the Interior. In 1991, Hannemann was again appointed to a government position, this time under Gov. John D. Waihee III. During Waihee's tenure, Hannemann led the Hawaii Pro Bowl Host Committee, the Task Force on Homeporting, the Hawaii Office of International Relations and the Hawaii Department of Business and Economic Development and Tourism. His most recent White House appointments were as United States Representative to the South Pacific Commission, under Bill Clinton, and in the United States Department of Labor as a member of the President's Council on the 21st Century Workforce, under George W. Bush.

Hannemann's credits as a businessman include President and General Manager of Punaluu Sweetbread Shop and C. Brewer Hawaiian Juices and, beginning in 1984, Vice President for Corporate Marketing and Public Affairs for parent company, C. Brewer and Company, Ltd.


  • Iolani School
  • Bachelor of Arts in Music - Harvard University (1976)



See also: Hawaii gubernatorial election, 2014

Hannemann ran as a Hawaii Independent Party candidate for Governor of Hawaii in 2014.[5] The general election took place November 4, 2014.


Governor and Lieutenant Governor of Hawaii, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngDavid Ige/Shan Tsutsui 49.5% 181,065
     Republican Duke Aiona/Elwin Ahu 37.1% 135,742
     Independent Mufi Hannemann/Les Chang 11.7% 42,925
     Libertarian Jeff Davis/Cindy Marlin 1.7% 6,393
Total Votes 366,125
Election Results via Hawaii Office of Elections.

Race background

Defeat for Abercrombie

Wavering approval numbers, key endorsement losses and the emergence of formidable challengers in both the primary and general election placed Abercrombie at the top of the list of most vulnerable seats in the 2014 gubernatorial election cycle. In the months leading up to the primary, inconsistent polling data and conflicting race projections thickened the air of uncertainty hanging over Abercrombie's re-election bid. Still, David Ige's upset by a 2-to-1 margin marked a stunning early elimination for the incumbent despite Abercrombie's 10-to-1 spending advantage.[8][9][10][4][11] The last time a sitting Hawaii Governor ran for re-election and failed was in 1962, when Republican William Francis Quinn, who, in addition to being Hawaii's first governor was also its first and only lame-duck governor, until Abercrombie. Quinn was unseated in the 1962 general election by Democratic challenger John Anthony Burns.[12]

In the aftermath of the primary, Abercrombie attributed his defeat to his decision to call a special session to legalize gay marriage in November 2013. According to Abercrombie, Republican opponents of gay marriage took advantage of the Democratic Party's open primary to vote en masse for Ige, who supported Abercrombie's push for the measure in the legislature. Abercrombie further argued that his absence in the general election paved the way for the Republicans to reclaim the governor's seat in the general election and ultimately block the measure's progress.[13]

Vulnerable seat

As far back as November 2013, several factors besides the gay marriage issue indicated Abercrombie could be at risk of losing re-election in 2014, beginning with long-time Hawaii lawmaker David Ige's entry into the Democratic primary race. Ige has been the state Sen. for District 16 since 1994 and currently serves as chair of the chamber's Ways and Means Committee. Abercrombie trailed Ige in each of the Democratic primary polls taken after the June 3 candidate filing deadline, including a Honolulu Civil Beat Poll of likely Democratic voters conducted by Merriman River Group about a week before the primary showing Ige leading 51 percent to 41 percent.[14][15] Despite having secured the endorsement of fellow Hawaii native President Barack Obama (D), more attention was paid to Ige's endorsements from ex-governors Ben Cayetano and George Ariyoshi. Both ex-governors are influential Hawaii Democrats who were previously considered close allies of Abercrombie.[16][17]

Controversy over U.S. Senate appointment

The notable defections of Cayetano and Ariyoshi may have stemmed from Abercrombie's controversial December 2012 decision to appoint then-Lieutenant Governor Brian E. Schatz (D) to fill the open U.S. Senate seat left by the death of veteran Senator Daniel Inouye (D). Abercrombie's decision to appoint Schatz meant defying Inouye's deathbed wish for the appointment of U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa as his replacement.[18][19] Abercrombie was required to appoint one of three individuals submitted by the state party of the incumbent, and Hanabusa—in addition to being Inouye's stated preference—had topped the list of early contenders, therefore the governor's call angered some members of the party.[20][21][22] After the Senate post was given to Schatz, Hanabusa threatened a challenge to Abercrombie in the 2014 Democratic gubernatorial primary nomination.[23] Although Hanabusa ultimately decided to pursue a full term in Inouye's seat in the 2014 election, a measure of residual ill-will toward Abercrombie may have existed among the state's Democratic elite and possibly affected his chances of winning a second term.

Aiona's second run for governor

If Abercrombie had survived Ige's primary challenge, another threat would have awaited him in the second phase of the election in the form of ex-Hawaii Lieutenant Governor Duke Aiona. Aiona was the 2010 Republican gubernatorial nominee and lost the office to Abercrombie four years ago. Aiona launched his second bid in early 2014 in hopes of staging a general election rematch with Abercrombie. Polls taken prior to Abercrombie's primary knockout reinforced expectations of a tight general election contest between the former foes.[14] On August 9, Aiona won the GOP nomination for the second consecutive cycle, earning 97 percent of the vote in a three-way race.[4]


Hawaii Governor - General Election
Poll David Ige (D) Duke Aiona (R)Mufi Hannemann (I)OtherUndecidedMargin of ErrorSample Size
September 9-10, 2014
New York Times/CBS/YouGov
September 20-October 1, 2014
Merriman River
October 16-19, 2014
New York Times/CBS/YouGov
October 16-23, 2014
AVERAGES 43.75% 32.5% 9% 2% 12.75% +/-4.2 1,073
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to

Primary election

Governor of Hawaii - Democratic Primary
Poll Neil Abercrombie* David IgeUndecidedMargin of ErrorSample Size
Honolulu Star-Advertiser
February 1-11, 2014
Honolulu Civil Beat/Merriman River Group
February 12-15, 2014
Honolulu Civil Beat/Merriman River Group
June 7-9, 2014
Honolulu Civil Beat/Merriman River Group (Survey of likely voters)
July 24-28, 2014
AVERAGES 40.5% 43.5% 15.75% +/-3.43 698.75
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to

General Election Hypothetical Match-up

Three way match-up (includes Hannemann)
Poll Neil Abercrombie* (D) Duke Aiona (R)Mufi Hannemann (I)UndecidedMargin of ErrorSample Size
Honolulu Civil Beat/Merriman River Group
June 7-9, 2014
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to
Abercrombie vs. Aiona
Poll Neil Abercrombie* (D) Duke Aiona (R)UndecidedMargin of ErrorSample Size
Honolulu Star-Advertiser
February 1-11, 2014
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to


October 15 debate

David Ige (D), Duke Aiona (R) and Mufi Hannemann (I) shared the stage during a debate sponsored by Hawaii News Now and the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Many of the questions offered by University of Hawaii students were left unanswered as the candidates focused on criticizing the records of their opponents. Hannemann criticized Ige and fellow legislators for rising electrical costs and public school woes. He argued that Hawaii voters should question whether Ige could lead the way after struggling to resolve these issues during 29 years in the legislature. Ige responded that legislators have to reach consensus on major issues and that he was "running for governor because I know I can't do it as a legislator...I have to be governor to make these things work."[24]

Ige trained his attack against Aiona, asking why the former lieutenant has selected some policies from his tenure to support while claiming no influence over other issues. Aiona responded that the Democratic candidate should ask former Gov. Linda Lingle that question. He also countered that voters could ask a similar question of Ige because he was running with current Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui.[24]


See also: Hawaii's 2nd Congressional District elections, 2012

Hannemann ran in the 2012 election for the U.S. House, representing Hawaii's 2nd District. He sought the nomination on the Democratic ticket.[25][26] Hannemann was defeated by Tulsi Gabbard in the Democratic primary.[4] Incumbent Mazie Hirono vacated the seat.

U.S. House, Hawaii, District 2 Democratic Primary, 2012
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngTulsi Gabbard 55.1% 62,882
Mufi Hannemann 34.3% 39,176
Esther Kia'Aina 5.9% 6,681
Bob Marx 3.8% 4,327
Miles Shiratori 0.5% 573
Rafael Del Castillo 0.5% 520
Total Votes 114,159


See also: Hawaii gubernatorial election, 2010

Hannemann was serving as mayor of Honolulu when he declared his bid for the governor's office in 2010. He had to resign from the post in order to run in the September 18 Democratic gubernatorial primary, which he lost to Neil Abercrombie by a steep margin of over 20 percentage points. Abercrombie went on to win the general election.[27][28][29]

Campaign donors


Mufi Hannemann (2012)[30] Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
April Quarterly[31]April 15, 2012$509,468.27$250,458.92$(128,961.12)$630,966.07
July Quarterly[32]July 15, 2012$630,966.07$252,861.01$(380,072.27)$503,754.81
Running totals

Recent news

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Mufi Hannemann News Feed

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See also

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External links


  1. 1.0 1.1 Hawaii News Now, "Mufi Hannemann announces candidacy for Hawaii governor's race," April 24, 2014
  2. Mufi Hannemann, "About" accessed July 23, 2012
  3. Hawaii Reporter, "Hannemann All a Twitter About His Congressional Run, But for Some, Bad Memories Still Linger," August 30, 2011
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 AP Results, "Hawaii U.S. House Primary Election Results" accessed August 12, 2012
  5. 5.0 5.1 Hawaii News Now, "Hannemann supporters reach goal, will Mufi run?," February 21, 2014
  6. Vote Mufi Facebook Page, "Info" accessed July 23, 2012
  7., "Personal Mufi Hannemann for Governor | For All of Us," accessed August 29, 2010
  8. Cook Political Report, "2014 Governors Race Ratings," May 16, 2014
  9. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named reelec
  10. Real Clear Politics, "2014 Governor Races, Ratings Map," accessed June 30, 2014
  11. Politico, "Schatz-Hanabusa race too close to call," August 10, 2014
  12. Honolulu Civil Beat, "Ige Holds Healthy Lead Over Abercrombie in Hawaii Governor’s Race," June 12, 2014
  13. USA Today, "Hawaii gov. blames political loss on gay marriage," August 30, 2014
  14. 14.0 14.1 Honolulu Civil Beat, "Ige Holds Healthy Lead Over Abercrombie in Hawaii Governor’s Race," June 12, 2014
  15. Honolulu Civil Beat, "Civil Beat Poll: Ige Maintains Solid Lead Over Abercrombie," July 31, 2014
  16., "HSTA endorses David Ige for governor," February 16, 2014
  17. The Star Advertiser, "Abercrombie loses support of former ally Cayetano," November 17, 2013
  18. Washington Post, "Gov. Abercrombie to appoint Inouye’s replacement," December 17, 2012
  19. The Washington Post, "Hawaii governor picks Brian Schatz for Inouye’s seat," December 26, 2012
  20., "Inouye gave preference for successor before he died," December 18, 2012
  21. CBS news, "Inouye replacement to be named Wednesday," December 24, 2012
  22. Civil Beat, "Inouye's Last Wish Is Abercrombie's Biggest Burden," December 24, 2012
  23. The Hill, "Source: Hanabusa receiving 'a lot of pressure' to run against Abercrombie," December 27, 2012
  24. 24.0 24.1 Hawaii News Now, "Final televised governor debate had winner and loser, analyst says," October 16, 2014
  25. The Hill, "Former Honolulu Mayor Hannemann to run for House" accessed December 5, 2011
  26. Roll Call, "Mufi Hannemann Announces Open-Seat House Bid in Hawaii" accessed December 5, 2011
  27. Honolulu Star-Advertiser, "Off and running," September 30, 2010
  28. Honolulu Star-Advertiser, "Special election needed for mayor," July 21, 2010
  29. State of Hawaii Office of Elections, "Primary Election 2010 Statewide Summary Report," accessed September 29, 2010
  30. FEC Reports, "Mufi Hannemann Summary Reports" accessed July 23, 2012
  31. FEC Reports, "April Quarterly" accessed July 23, 2012
  32. FEC Reports, "July Quarterly" accessed July 15, 2012