The People's Party
of Hawaii (1972-1976)

Some of the people in the People's Party
Top: Dexter Cate, Jeff Blair, and Chuck Bollingmo Smith
Bottom: Tony Hodges, Suzie Cate, Ken Ellingwood, and John Swindle

        Hawaii's registered voters welcomed the People's Party to the Islands in the summer of 1972, when Robert Hutchinson and others collected the signatures of over 3,000 local residents to get the People's Party and their candidate for President, Dr. Benjamin Spock, on Hawaii's ballot. Contesting the petition, state bureaucrats refused to allow Spock's name to appear. The American Civil Liberties Union, however, took the case to federal court and won. The written decision issued by Federal Judge Martin Pence several months after the 1972 elections, declared the party fully qualified for the next elections, which would take place in 1974.
        Most of the party's officers, who had come from the Mainland specifically for the petition drive, had returned by the summer of 1974. Hutchinson, the party's chairman of record, was preparing to enter law school at UH and would be too busy to do much political organizing. So when Jeff Blair contacted him by phone to see how he could become involved, Hutchinson turned the chair over to him. The People's Party of Hawaii was a "paper party". It had a license to run candidates for office, but only one member--the new chairman--and no candidates. So Blair went in search of others who might put some life into this new party. Having been involved in the local antiwar movement (catholic Action and American Friends Service Committee), he naturally turned to these friends in hopes that they would see a third party as another viable avenue towards political change. Protest and electoral politics were natural companions, he thought, but many people didn't. They said electoral politics was a waste of time. Real change could only come through protest, or even revolution.

The 1974 elections.

        It looked like the People's Party would never get off the ground until he talked to Dexter Cate. Not satisfied just to be active behind the scenes, Cate became the party's first candidate ... for U.S. House. With Dexter as a candidate, the party began to move. And a good showing (5% or more) in his race would insure that the Party could continue running candidates in the next elections.

The State Convention, 1976
Tony Hodges, candidate for the U.S. Senate, makes a point to party members.


The 1976 elections.


U.S. Senate

Hawaii Maui Kauai Honolulu State
Spark Matsunaga (D) 16,775 12,005 9,500 123,384 161,664
William Quinn (R) 15,266 10,248 5,197 91,535 122,246
Tony Hodges (P) 1,101 1,061 333 11,653 14,148
James Kimmel (N) 156 190 151 932 1,429
Rockne Johnson (L) 153 111 40 1,096 1,400
Outer Islands/Rural Oahu

U.S. House

Hawaii Maui Kauai Rural
Daniel Akaka (D) 25,202 18,197 12,350 68,106 123,855
Hank Inouye (R) 4,891 3,215 1,435 14,302 23,843
Billy Penaroza (i) 261 666 550 1,983 3,460
Dexter Cate (P) 687 235 67 1,412 2,401
Don Smith (L) 612 263 86 1,228 2,189

Last updated April 2003
Copyright (C) 2003 by Jeff Blair