The end, when it came, took the form of a one-sentence letter for from Governor David Ige to Senate President Donna Mercado Kim and members of the Senate.
“I hereby respectfully withdraw the nomination of Carleton Ching as Chairperson of the Department of Land and Natural Resources.” it read.
The governor’s letter apparetly arrived just minutes before the full Senate was scheduled to vote on the nomination. Ige reportedly pulled the nomination after learning that he didn’t have enough votes in the Senate to win approval. Ching’s nomination was advanced to the Senate last week with a negative recommendation from the Senate Committee on Water and Land, after the committee heard testimony that ran 9-1 against confirming Ching, a lobbyist for developer Castle and Cook. Since then, senators reportedly have gotten a flood of calls from constituents protesting the nomination, and senators coming to the capitol this morning were greeted with a rally protesting the nomination. Opponents cited Ching’s lack of experience in conservation and preservation issues and his close ties to developers, including his involvement in the pro-development Land Use Research Foundation, which had lobbied for the weakening of conservation and preservation laws. Governor Ige has until April 6 to submit a new nomination if he wants the Senate to approve a new DLNR head this session.
As of 6 p.m. this evening the Governor’s own Web page still had no announcements or press releases about the withdrawal of Ching’s nomination.