CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Although President Barack Obama faces a tough re-election, nothing has dulled his popularity in his native state, says former Big Island mayor Dante Carpenter.
“Hawaii is a slam dunk for him,” Carpenter said.
Carpenter, who chairs the Hawaii Democratic Party, is attending the Democratic National Convention that kicks off on Tuesday. On Labor Day, he and his wife, Olan, joined thousands in Uptown Charlotte for “CarolinaFest.”
“We are enjoying ourselves,” Carpenter said.
The family-friendly festival stretched several city blocks with booths selling food, others peddling political souvenirs, and still others promoting various causes.
There was also music from several stages and a large crowd drawn to the MSNBC broadcasting set.
Hawaii has 38 delegates at the convention, all backing Obama for re-election.
“Lock, stock and barrel. All are committed to our homeboy,” Carpenter said.
Having Obama at the top of the ticket should help Democrats in other races, he said. Rep. Mazie Hirono is facing former Gov. Linda Lingle, a Republican, to fill the seat of retiring Sen. Daniel Akaka.
Rep. Colleen Hanabusa is being challenged by Republican Charles Djou. Democrat Tulsi Gabbard and Republican David “Kawika” Crowley are running for the seat now held by Hirono.
“The (Democratic) congressional folks are home working hard to get elected or re-elected,” Carpenter said.
Gabbard will make an appearance at the convention.
She is one of two House candidates selected to addresses delegates during a segment on “Women of the House” that will be hosted by Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
Carpenter said he is here because it is an important chance to meet with party activists and help organize for the November election.
Carpenter served as mayor of Hawaii County from 1984 to 1988, capping a 22-year career in elected office in the state.
He and his wife now reside in Honolulu.