Pod Squad on Puna: ‘There’s An Election?’

Reporter Nick Grube and deputy editor Eric Pape talk with Chad Blair about their reporting from Puna, Hawaii, where a U.S. Senate race was decided amid tropical storm damage.
By Mike Webb /

The Puna primary took place last week and Civil Beat’s Nick Grube, Eric Pape and PF Bentley were on the Big Island to cover how U.S. Senate candidates Brian Schatz and Colleen Hanabusa were campaigning amidst the chaos.

Grube and Pape sat down with Pod Squad host Chad Blair to talk about how local residents responded to the awkwardness of campaigning in an area where some people still had no power and water.

Asked if local residents were hoping the election would be extended further so they would have more time to vote, Pape said, “People had much bigger fish to fry. They’re trying to get their electricity, trying to figure out what food they’re going to eat ’cause their food went bad. They’re trying to make sure they have cash to pay their bills. They’re trying to make sure they have an income. Do they really care about this election that’s actually already kind of decided? The numbers weren’t likely to change. It’s a very difficult situation to galvanize people and get them excited … What we encountered a fair amount of was, ‘there’s an election?'”

They also discussed Hanabusa’s legal challenge to the state decision to hold the election Friday, whether the problems in Puna are being properly addressed, how much of a factor the late Sen. Dan Inouye was, and whether Hanabusa will run again in two years.

Listen to the full podcast here or subscribe to it via iTunes or Stitcher.

Mike Webb produces Civil Beat’s Pod Squad every week.

Want to hear more? Check out Civil Beat’s other podcasts.
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