With the Capitol filled with red-shirted opponents of the Carleton Ching nomination to chair DLNR and voters glued to their Akaku and Olelo TV, the senate went into a long recess directly after President Donna Mercado-Kim called the Ching confirmation agenda item.
Speculation grew and an hour after convening, Kim announced that the governor had withdrawn the Ching nomination.
By that time there were 8,545 signatures on a petition asking the senate not to confirm.
We’ve been told that supporters of the Ching nomination may have had the votes to pass it but that there was just too much downside to going on the record with a public vote. Supporters knew this was an issue that would haunt them – especially after Ching messed up which he was sure to do.
Those voting no on the nomination had the possibility of vetos and defunding hanging over their heads.
We’ve heard that after the senators couldn’t figure out how to confirm Ching without going on the record with their votes, the Majority Leader, Sen. Kalani English prevailed upon the governor to withdraw his controversial nomination. This was a wise course of action given that few nominations engender so much controversy and split the senate so evenly.
UPDATE: Hawaii News Now is reporting that two yes votes switched to no at the last moment and the no votes had the majority 13-12 at the very end.
UPDATE 2: Reports from two different sources say that the yes votes switched as early as Tuesday night and that, in fact, the governor did not have the votes needed. Even more reason to withdraw and save the senators voting yes from voter retribution.