Maui Election

Kirk Caldwell withdraws from Hawaiʻi gubernatorial race

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Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell. (file 8.31.20) PC: Mayor Caldwell Facbook Live Stream screen capture.

Hawaiʻi gubernatorial candidate, Kirk Caldwell announced his withdrawal from the governor’s race, citing a lack of funding and momentum, and saying the timing is not right.

“After much thought and deep consideration, I have decided to withdraw from the race for Governor of the State of Hawai’i,” said Caldwell in a press release campaign announcement.

“All candidates for major office weigh the viability of their campaigns every day, or at least they should. A lot is at stake. A lot of money is being spent. A lot of good people are affected. After keeping a close watch on how the campaign was evolving, my gut, my manaʻo, was telling me this was not my time to seek the governorship,” he said.


Caldwell said raising money for his campaign has been difficult. “It is now clear that the lack of funding will seriously affect operations and the ability to continue grass roots, public events, and communicate effectively going forward,” he said.

“I fully recognize that I am an underdog in this race,” said Caldwell, noting that he was also the underdog in two of his campaigns for Mayor, and won. “I’m not afraid to run from behind. However, in this race, I’m not sensing the kind of momentum I know I need in the time we have left to continue to be viable,” he said.

In his announcement, Caldwell said he wants to give supporters time to consider who they will vote for.


After serving eight years as the Mayor of the City and County of Honolulu, Caldwell said he is proud of all that he accomplished, “including the last year in 2020 which focused almost entirely on the COVID pandemic.”

“I’ve made hard decisions and have taken action on many controversial projects. Working in the public arena means building a track record, but it also means putting yourself at risk of losing popularity and overexposure. On the campaign trail, so many people have thanked me and shown heartfelt friendship and aloha. That means a lot to me, but I understand such sentiments don’t necessarily translate into votes,” according to Caldwell’s release.

Though it would be a privilege to serve, Caldwell said continuing his campaign for governor is not something he should continue.


“I know that there will be a right time and a right place for me in some future role. I still have great desire, high energy, and passion for public service — all of which I want to invest towards working for Hawai’i. I’m excited about finding what that next role will be for me,” he said.


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