By Malia Zimmerman | Watchdog.org
HONOLULU — Bryan Earl Jeremiah has been campaigning as a Republican for state House District 41, but after learning he had an extensive criminal rap sheet, elected Republican leaders asked the 51-year-old on Wednesday to withdraw.
While people who know Jeremiah said he’s “turned his life around” and “found God” after becoming a Christian, Republican leaders said they didn’t believe his criminal past is “survivable” in an election.
Jeremiah, also known as Bryan Earl Rauch, has nine convictions in Hawaii between 1982 and 2002 for everything from drug dealing, drunk driving and robbery, to contempt of court and assault.
A check of Hawaii court records shows he’s served three prison sentences, the most recent being four days in prison in 2002 for “abuse of a household member,” his son.
In 1993, he was sentenced to five years in prison for a criminal drug distribution conviction, court records show, and in 1982, he was sentenced to a year in prison for robbery in the first degree.
In addition to his criminal past, court records also show Jeremiah had a civil default garnishment order against him.
“Mr. Jeremiah informed the Hawaii Republican Party (Thursday) that he is no longer a candidate. Therefore, we have no comment,” said Kayla Berube, executive director of the Hawaii Republican Party.
Jeremiah could not be reached by phone Thursday.
As Jeremiah takes down his campaign signs, Republicans are scrambling to find a replacement candidate.
Still remaining in the race is House Majority floor leader Rida Cabanilla, D-Ewa, the district’s incumbent, who has been involved in her share of controversy.
Most recently, she was in the news for the $100,000 grant she secured from her peers at the Hawaii Legislature for her charity, which was out of compliance with the Internal Revenue Service when she was awarded the grant.
Cabanilla told Watchdog.org she wanted the money to hire six people to “weed whack” the grass at the historic cemetery, but critics of her plan said the cemetery already is under a city maintenance contract, which includes yard maintenance.
Cabanilla’s nonprofit is still in contention for the grant, which still must be approved by the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.
Republican strategists believed Cabanilla could be defeated because of the negative publicity she received over her nonprofit grant and her widely criticized proposal earlier in the legislative session to export marijuana from Hawaii worldwide.
Contact Malia Zimmerman at malia