The Republicans were the dominant party in Hawaii until the 1950s, when Democrats led the campaign for Hawaii to become a state, said Keanu Sai, a political science and Hawaiian studies professor at Kapiolani Community College. Hawaii's statehood in 1959 solidified the Democratic base, which gained power as workers in the state unionized. That stranglehold persists to this day: The state's current governor is the only Republican elected to that office since 1962.
The Democratic domination is being pushed further along because of Obama, Republicans say. Thousands of previously unregistered voters participated in the 2008 election because of the native son. And in the 2008 race for Honolulu mayor, candidate Mufi Hannemann used clips of the popular presidential candidate praising him in campaign ads.
The presence Obama plays in Hawaii politics is a source of frustration for Allen and Palcic.
"People who voted for Obama didn't know what he had to say," Allen said.
Palcic's partner in business is an Obama supporter and posted the infamous 2008 picture of the then-president-elect bodysurfing on the store's largest computer screen.
Palcic and Allen say they want their elected leaders to have a sense of fiscal responsibility. They want to wrest control from Hawaii's unions, which they say are bankrupting the state.
And they want politicians to be more qualified -- many in the Legislature have never had a job except being in office, they say. That includes Allen's three-time opponent, who started his political career from his position as a busboy at a now-defunct restaurant called the Flamingo Chuckwagon.
As for the president -- well, don't even get them started.
"People think that all you need to do to be president," Allen said, "is to know how to bodysurf."