AOC-backed but absent Hawaii congressman goes down in flames

by WorldTribune Staff / 247 Real News August 14, 2022

Hawaii Democrat Rep. Kai Kahele, who had not cast a vote in person since January while keeping his day-job as an airline pilot, was humiliated in his bid to become the next governor of Hawaii.

Rep. Kai Kahele / Public Domain

Despite the backing of progressive Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Kahele lost big time in Saturday’s Democrat primary against Lt. Gov. Josh Green.

Kahele drew national attention in April after an analysis by Honolulu Civil Beat found that he had not cast a vote in person since January. The analysis also concluded that there was evidence Kahele spent very little time in Washington, D.C. during that period.

In response to criticism, a spokesperson for Kahele explained that he had been voting by proxy due to the Covid pandemic.

“To limit his exposure to Covid-19 and the potential to spread the virus, our office has tried to reduce Rep. Kahele’s cross-country travel while ensuring he fulfills all of his responsibilities in Congress,” the spokesperson said in a statement to CNN.

Hawaii voters apparently didn’t buy it. With 90% of precincts reporting, Green was projected the winner with 63.7% support, while Kahele was third with 13.7%, according to The Associated Press.

The House permitted members to cast proxy votes following the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020. Democrat leaders in the House claimed the proxy vote measure was temporary, but it has yet to be lifted as members such as Kahele take advantage of the rule.

Kahele also faced criticism following revelations that he was working part-time for Hawaiian Airlines as a pilot during his time in Congress. Kahele argued his earnings from his side job fell within the limits of House ethics.

Green is now favored to win easily in the general election.

Hawaii has not put a Republican in a statewide office since 2010.

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