Duke Aiona

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Duke Aiona
Duke Aiona.jpg
10th Lieutenant Governor of Hawaii
In office
December 4, 2002 – December 6, 2010
GovernorLinda Lingle
Preceded byMazie Hirono
Succeeded byBrian Schatz
Personal details
Born (1955-06-08) June 8, 1955 (age 64)
Pearl City, Hawaii, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Vivian Welsh
EducationUniversity of the Pacific (BA)
University of Hawaii, Manoa (JD)

James R. "Duke" Aiona Jr. (born June 8, 1955) is an American politician and jurist who served as the tenth lieutenant governor of Hawaii from 2002 to 2010. A Republican, he also served both as an attorney and a judge for the state prior to becoming lieutenant governor.

Aiona was the Republican nominee for Governor of Hawaii in the 2010 election, but was defeated by Democrat Neil Abercrombie in the general election. He was the Republican nominee once again in the 2014 election, but lost to Democrat David Ige.


James Aiona was born in Pearl City, Hawaiʻi. He is of Hawaiian and Portuguese descent on his father's side and Chinese on his mother's side. His mother worked as an elementary school teacher and his father worked as a life insurance agent. He attended Saint Louis School, a local academy of the Diocese of Honolulu. Upon graduating high school, Aiona played basketball at University of the Pacific in Stockton, California and pursued a bachelor of arts degree in political science, which he received from there in 1977. Aiona returned to Hawaiʻi and graduated from the William S. Richardson School of Law at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa in 1981.[1]

He began his legal career at the City and County of Honolulu as a deputy prosecutor, and was appointed to the Hawaiʻi State Judiciary in 1990 as a Family Court judge. In 1996, while serving as Circuit Court judge, Aiona became the first administrative judge and primary architect of the Drug Court Program in Hawaiʻi. The program gives non-violent offenders a chance to stay out of prison through active and effective drug rehabilitation.

In 1977, while attending law school, he met Vivian Welsh at a dance in Waikīkī. They married in 1981. They have two sons, Kulia and Makana; and two daughters, Ohulani and Kaimilani.[2] As lieutenant governor, Aiona was paid $117,312 per annum.[3]

Electoral history[edit]

Lt Governor Aiona attending the 64th commemoration of the Attack on Pearl Harbor

Aiona and Governor Linda Lingle became Hawaii's first Republican administration to win a second term, and they won with the largest margin of victory in any gubernatorial race in the history of the state.[4] Aiona ran to succeed Lingle as governor in 2010, but lost to Neil Abercrombie; he ran for governor again in 2014, losing to Democrat David Ige.

2002 Hawaii gubernatorial election
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Linda Lingle/James Aiona 194,338 51.6
Democratic Mazie Hirono/Matt Matsunaga 177,186 47.0
2006 Hawaii gubernatorial election
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Linda Lingle/James Aiona (incumbent) 215,313 62.5 +10.9
Democratic Randy Iwase/Malama Solomon 121,717 35.4
2010 Hawaii gubernatorial election[5]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Neil Abercrombie / Brian Schatz 222,724 57.8%
Republican James Aiona / Lynn Finnegan 157,311 40.8%
Turnout 380,035 55.7%


  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-10-02. Retrieved 2014-10-02.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-10-02. Retrieved 2014-10-02.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ ‘‘The Council of State Governments,’’ “The Book of the States: 2008” Archived October 14, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ http://hawaii.gov/ltgo/lg[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ "Office of Elections" (PDF). hawaii.gov. Retrieved 24 August 2015.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Mazie Hirono
Lieutenant Governor of Hawaii
Succeeded by
Brian Schatz
Party political offices
Preceded by
Linda Lingle
Republican nominee for Governor of Hawaii
2010, 2014
Succeeded by
Andria Tupola