HI-01: Abercrombie to Resign Early

Add one more special election to the list:

U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie announced today that he is resigning from Congress to run for governor full time….

The resignation will trigger a special election to fill the remainder of Abercrombie’s current congressional term which ends January 2011. The seat will also be up for grabs in the general election in November for the next two-year term.

This may not be too much of a surprise (although Abercrombie in April said he wouldn’t resign his seat), as Abercrombie needs to spend a lot of time in Hawaii to win the race, and that’s a rather long commute from Washington DC. This decision doesn’t affect the overall electoral calculus much, as Abercrombie was already in the middle of his last term, as he can’t run for House and Governor at the same time. On the Democratic side, state Senate president Colleen Hanabusa and ex-Rep. Ed Case are already running to succeed Abercrombie; Honolulu city councilor Charles Djou is running for the Republicans. Assumedly, they will all choose to participate in the special election, although they could choose to run only in the regularly scheduled election.

Abercrombie hasn’t set his final day in office, so the date of the special election won’t be known for a while. (I’m wondering if we could have a weird circumstance like Abercrombie’s first election to the House, where on the same day he won the special election to take over the House seat but lost the Democratic primary for the full term.)

UPDATE: If the special election held in 2003 to replace Patsy Mink (which is how Ed Case won) is any indication, it looks like Hawaiian special elections are just one big pool of people from all parties, with the first-past-the-post winning the whole thing (instead of a primary and then a general). If so, that could set up a weird scenario where Djou narrowly wins the special election because Hanabusa and Case split the majority of Democratic votes (say 40% Djou, 35% Hanabusa, 25% Case).

LATER UPDATE (James): In the comments, local SSPer skaje makes the case that the special election will only hurt Djou’s chances by splitting the right-of-center vote with Ed Case. It’s an interesting argument, and I have to admit that this thought crossed my mind. There’s no denying that Case has based a lot of his appeal on his position on the rightward side of Hawaii’s political equilibrium, but whether or not we see Republican-leaning voters splitting may end up hinging upon the type of campaign that Case chooses to run.

LATE LATE SHOW UPDATE (David): When would a special election occur? Essentially, whenever the Chief Election Officer wants to. According to Hawaii statutes, the only requirement is that the “CEO” must conduct a special election within sixty days of making a proclamation that there will be a special election. But the law is silent as to how soon such a proclamation must be issued. Indeed, CEO Kevin Cronin says that his department is strapped and that there may not even be a special election, or may be delayed until the September primary. Another wrinkle is that Cronin recently announced he was stepping down at the end of this month, so the decision may not fall to him.

RaceTracker Wiki: HI-01

75 thoughts on “HI-01: Abercrombie to Resign Early”

  1. Neal Abercrombie wins the Special Election, and loses a Democratic primary on the same day.

    Hawaii, they’re called runoffs, or IRV. Look into it. 😉

  2. Mink died on September 28.  The special election to fill the remainder of her term in the 108th Congress was November 30.  Weirdly then another special was held in early January (since Mink was posthumously reelected  in Novermber’s regular election)

  3. The Senate is made of 25 Members, and currently only two of those are Republicans, and the house is made up of 51 members, and only 6 of them are Republicans.

    Not a very large pool to choose from for that HI-01 seat, huh?

  4. finally a race where I can speak with a little more knowledge!  To everyone here, I assure you this special election is very good news for us.  Case running actually HURTS Djou.  The odds are very high Djou comes in third place in the special election.  

    Why, you say?  Because Case is basically a Republican already.  When he ran against Senator Akaka in 2006, his biggest support came from Republicans and conservative independents.  He burned so many bridges with both establishment Democrats and with grassroots progressives that Case’s presence in the race only takes away voters that Djou would desperately need to get anywhere near 30%, let alone 40% and win with a plurality.

    The sole hope the Hawaii GOP had was that Case would bloody up Hanabusa enough in the Democratic primary (a primary that Republicans would dive into like they did in 2006, since Djou will easily claim the GOP primary without their help), that when the general election came around, enough Case voters would coalesce around Djou that he could narrowly win the open seat.

    But with Hanabusa likely to have several months of incumbency, those hopes are dashed.  She will easily win the special election and the general election.

    The 2003 special election is not a good indicator of how this will turn out because of how badly Case has hurt his standing with Hawaii Democrats in the past 6 years.  He and Djou will split the conservative vote, bet on it.

  5. You are right, Case’s impact on the race will partly depend on how he runs his campaign.  I’m not really sure what he will do.  I know what Djou will say: “I’m running against two liberal Democrats”.  I know what Hanabusa will say: “I’m running against two out-of-touch conservatives that will vote against Obama”.  But I don’t know what Case will say.  In 2006 he basically attacked Akaka’s age and relative lack of accomplishments, saying it was time for a change, and so on.  His line of attack against Hanabusa (and Djou for that matter) is not obvious this time around.  He has been very quiet so far and I don’t know how he plans to actually win this time.

    I suppose there is a danger if he suddenly starts championing progressive causes, trying to run to Hanabusa’s left.  Only problem with that is that Case truly is a dedicated centrist, and is not the kind of guy to just change his political positions.  However he runs his campaign, I expect the type of voters he would get to overlap with the types of people that might be tempted to vote for Djou.

  6.   There’s a lot of machine thinking on this thread, and I suggest we start thinking a little more clearly.

     Ed Case’s DINO reputation is undeserved, and Colleen Hanabusa’s progressive reputation is undeserved.

     No politician in Hawaii has been stronger on environmental issues than Case.

     No politician in Hawaii has been stronger on choice than Case.

     No politician in Hawaii has been as strong on LGBTQ issues as Case.  He risked his entire political career to fight the homophobic constitutional amendment and the law banning same-sex marriages, while the rest of the Dems–Hanabusa included–supported it.  Gabbard, the LGBTQ-hater who challenged Case as a far-right Repub because of it, switched to the Dems and became Chairman of the Judiciary Committee thanks to Hanabusa.

     Hanabusa has no real chance to win a special election–she’s more likely to finish third.  She doesn’t have the name recognition, especially in the 1st CD.  Case started his political career in the 1st CD, and Djou represents a good part of it on the City Council, whereas she has never had any connection to it.  And Case’s support doesn’t come from Repubs–it comes from moderate Dems and independents, especially Dems who are sick of the Inouye machine and its weak candidates (Akaka is a perfect example, as are Hannemann and Hanabusa) whose main qualifications are that they’re dependable yes-men for Inouye.

  7. Hawaii is one of the most heavily Democratic states, I believe in the Hawaii State Senate there are only two Republicans or something like that.

    Linda Lingle’s popularity is hers and hers alone, she has done nothing to bring the GOP up. And Djou seems too conservative for Hawaii, the birth state of Obama. Not to mention that Case is considered a moderate, rather than Hanibusa and Case splitting the Democratic vote could Djou and Case split the right of center vote? I’m not too sure.

    I do think that if the special elections work as described then there will be immensise pressure for Case to not run in the special. He isn’t well liked at all by the establishment since his run against Akaka in 2006 and if they don’t keep him out they could have him get too few votes to prevent Hanibusa from wining.

    Also even if Djou did win (which is unlikely even with the plurarity thing) he would struggle to win a full term in Nov 2010 due to the Democratic lean and Obama’s influence. Altho the moment would give the GOP alot to talk about as they haven’t won a house special election for a while.

  8. Was lost on everyone. His win earlier in the year was much more important. It might actually be worth doing the opposite with regard to Case – let him run in and win the special and Hanabusa can concentrate on winning the primary.

  9. Case wants this seat bad and to give Hanibusa incumbancy 9 months prior to the September 2010 primary would be detrimental to his campaign.

  10. If he wants to run, he’ll run. So this announcement is bad news for the Democrats.

    Djou is a strong candidate who had already turned this race into a third-tier pickup opportunity. It’s rated Likely Democrat by both CQPolitics and Charlie Cook. 40% of the vote isn’t impossible- Bush got 45% in Hawaii in 2004.

    Sure, Djou is probably still the underdog. But this certainly doesn’t help the Democrats’ chances here. It seems like things keep getting worse and worse for House Democrats.

  11. Bush got 47%, in this district, in 2004…so it is possible Djou can go past 40. I do think this district’s lean is somewhere inbetween Bush’s margin and McCain’s. Also, while wed probably see Obama making ads if this is a close race i wouldnt count on him appearing unless hes already there for vacation or something.

  12. Though you have to think one ad from Obama would be enough. He is likely more popular there even than in Illinois.

  13. as a Hawaii resident, from what I have seen I believe the special election actually hurts Djou’s chances next November.  In a nutshell, Case and Djou, running on the same ballot, will split conservative voters.

  14. They can’t get marriage equality passed.  Stinks that even states like HI and MA where Dems effectively have the entire legislature under one party rule almost nothing progressive gets passed.

  15. Aren’t all that into gay marriage though, which has held things up.  We could have a good shot if Abercrombie win in 2010 though.

  16. is that everyone wants to be a Democrat now.  Even raging bigots like state Senator Mike Gabbard who led the charge against the civil unions bill.  Gabbard ran as a Republican against then-Rep. Ed Case in 2004, getting like a third of the vote.  He then was able to nab an open state senate seat against a poorly funded Democrat, but then became a Democrat himself to get more influence.

    His position on the state senate judiciary committee (a position he would have never had as a Republican) enabled him to kill the civil unions bill.

    We need to do some serious house-cleaning here.

  17. almost nothing progressive gets passed.

    The only two states with something resembling state-level universal health care –

    a significant progressive accomplishment IMO.

  18. …is they tend to push people who might not normally be part of the dominant party elsewhere into that party.  I.e. South Boston Democrats.

  19. The Longshoremen’s Union will back Hanabusa as well as the establishment die-hard Democratic types that tend to vote in special elections.  In that case, Hanabusa wins.  Still, it’s be nice to have Case out of the race altogether.

  20. From the sound of it, and from what ive heard in the past, Case does have alot of support amongst Republican-leaning voters. Seems Djou’s only hope is Case doing/saying something to piss off those voters or they just simply want to ‘send a Republican to Congress’ even if they personally like Case better.  

  21. 1) If this is true, then hurting Djou could come at the expense of helping Case.  In an open primary, Case will get a) all the Democratic votes he would have gotten anyway, plus b) some of Djou’s votes that either prefer Case or think he’s more electable than Djou.  This effectively freezes out Djou, but it might pave the way for Case to pull a Specter and squeak through on a coalition of moderate Dems, Independents, and Republicans.

    2) On the upside, there’s another bad part of this for Djou: as you’ve said in the past (I think it was you), he’s been an extremely slow fundraiser, though he’s managed to amass a decent warchest now.  Two elections means two times Djou has to raise money.  I wouldn’t be surprised if losing the special is a knockout for the general, since he’ll have to spend everything he’s got on the special and then won’t have time to rebuild for the general.  His only other option is to sit out the special altogether, which would result in him running against an incumbent.  Presumably, if he’d wanted to do that, he would have taken on Abercrombie ages ago.

  22. the opposition in the legislature has come from caucasian, Filipino, Japanese, and Chinese politicians as well.  Older Polynesian voters may not be supportive of marriage equality but then again what older voters are?  Local culture, particularly among younger people here, is among the most gay-friendly I have seen in any state I’ve been to.

    The problems here are the same as in any other state.  Hostile older voters afraid of homosexuality, conservative Republicans, and the fear our politicians have of taking a stand.

  23. She will be a reliable mainstream Democratic vote on everything.  I’m not expecting a progressive firebrand out of her, but I think she’ll turn out to be a decent representative.  Her and Congresswoman Hirono will probably never vote differently, and I’ve liked Hirono so far.

  24. I remember a few years ago many people saying how the HI Republican Party was on the “upswing”. Either that was false or theyve really, really fallen back.

  25. The opposition of Lingle has always been the deal-killer.  Knowing that she would have vetoed the bill provided spineless Democrats the cover to vote against it.  With her out of the way, the path is cleared.  However, a lot will come down to the state Senate judiciary committee.

    State Senator Mike Gabbard needs to be removed from the Judiciary committee, or preferably, the state senate entirely.  He is a Republican who only joined the Democratic Party to get influence, and because of this, together with an actual Republican the GOP has in essence ended up with 2 of the 6 seats on judiciary, despite only holding 2 of 25 total seats in the state senate.

    I don’t believe he has any official Democratic primary challengers but with a September primary, many politicians take their time.  But he definitely needs to go, dislodging him would prevent the tie-vote that killed the civil unions bill previously.  The state senate as a whole is much friendlier to equality.

  26. the problem was, their upswing started in the late 80s but sputtered out at the end of the 90s.  From Linda Lingle’s election in 2002 the HI GOP has suffered massive, 2/3 to 3/4 losses of their caucus in the state house and senate.  They have lost all their friendly mayors and retain only a single friendly Honolulu city councilman (Charles Djou, who is vacating that seat for a run at Congress).  The upswing ended with Lingle’s election, strangely enough.  I don’t really know why myself, Hawaii was doing just fine in the mid 2000s, and Lingle herself was riding high on 70% approval ratings.  But she just couldn’t drag anyone else in with her, and her party lost most of their legislators.

    2008 was the real surprise, despite Obama’s presence on the ballot it was still expected that Republicans would finally pick up a few seats in the state legislature due to the nature of the open seats, but instead they lost even more.  And then after the election two of the remaining Republicans became Democrats because they couldn’t get anything done.

  27. There was very little interest in the GOP primary so basically the entire state voted in the Democratic primary.  There was an unofficial, but very obvious effort by Republicans to knock off Akaka by voting for Case, and Case himself encouraged these voters.

    Ask yourself how that 2006 primary would have turned out had it been Senator Akaka vs. Ed Case vs. Charles Djou.  And now you have an idea of what this special election is going to look like.  Ed Case and Charles Djou will split conservative and centrist voters.

  28. is try to portray Ed Case as being as far left as possible.  Mention him in the same sentence as Colleen Hanabusa over and over again.  He will try to portray the race as two leftist Democrats vs. one moderate independent.  The problem for Djou is that Case will simultaneously be emphasizing how moderate he is and attacking Djou for being a Republican.  In the end, I just don’t see Democratic voters splitting on this one, they’ll go pretty heavily for Hanabusa, and the remainder will get split up between Case and Djou.

  29. Skaje, is Hawaii one of those states where whites are more liberal than the minority groups in voting pattern or was the 2004 Presidential race an outlier?  I thought it was odd that whites gave Kerry the win and Asians and Latinos went for Bush.  Also, do you know what “other” means or Hawaii?  Are these native Hawaiians who don’t like to define themselves as Asian?


    White (42%)

    Bush 42%

    Kerry 58%

    African-American (1%)

    * n/a *

    Latino (10%)

    Bush 46%

    Kerry 54%

    Asian (26%)

    Bush 48%

    Kerry 52%

    Other (22%)

    Bush 52%


  30. Thanks! I bet that the HI Legislature still has a fierce progressive Dem/moderate Dem split, though, as in MI and RI for example. It would make sense really given the utter dominance of the D caucus.  

  31. Kerry also carried the Asian and Latino groups, though by a narrower margin.  I’m sure Obma carried all groups by a big margin.

  32. In 2008 the breakdown in Hawaii was:


    70% Obama

    27% McCain


    68% Obama

    30% McCain


    80% Obama

    18% McCain

    The “other” category was by far the biggest swing towards Obama from Kerry in 2004.

  33. While the terms “Hispanic” and “Latino” are often used interchangeably, there is a difference: people of Portuguese (and Brazilian) descent are not Hispanic but they are Latino. In Hawaii that matters, as Hawaii has a significant population of Portuguese descent.

  34. I’m never truly sure what to believe.  National pollsters seem to have difficulty with the state, and I don’t mean difficulty in the way that New Jersey polls are often skewed one way, I literally mean it’s a tough state to poll with its significant immigrant population.  A lot of national pollsters just avoid the state.  When it comes to polling the state by ethnic group, I get even more suspicious.  

    What I can tell you with confidence is that local Democratic strength is concentrated among the more rural areas, both on Oahu and on the neighbor islands, areas that correlate with high percentages of native Hawaiians.  Areas with significant Japanese-American populations are also Democratic strongholds, as it was largely on the efforts of Japanese-Americans that the modern Hawaii Democratic Party came into existence and took over back in the early 60s.  The sole areas of Hawaii that are friendly to Republicans are very rich, very Caucasian areas in Honolulu and further east, as well as on the northeast coast.  There are also pockets of GOP strength on the Big Island and on Maui, again concentrated in mostly Caucasian areas.  This is undeniable based on many elections results I have seen broken down by district here.

    The racial makeup of the legislature reflects this.  In the state Senate, the two Republicans left come from those areas of Oahu and are both white.  Out of the 23 Democratic senators however, only two are white.  In the state house it’s a similar story, though not as drastic a difference.  3 of the 6 Republicans are white, while only 12 of the 46 Democrats are white.

    The CNN poll makes little sense based on what I have seen here.  Generally speaking, the Republican Party here is a lot whiter than the Democratic Party.

    As for the percentage of people who claim “other”, it is almost certainly people of Pacific Islander ancestry (Hawaiians, Samoans, Tongans, Micronesians, and others) and possibly just those mixed race to the point that they don’t really care to identify with any one of them.  About 20% of Hawaii claimed mixed-race on the last census if I recall correctly and that number is only likely to have increased since then.

  35. Even if he did squeak into office in 2010 does anyone think there’s a chance in hell he gets re-elected in 2012 with Obama on the ballot?  

  36. And I agree, Djou collapsing could allow Case to improve and threaten Hanabusa.  However, I just don’t see Case improving upon his 2006 showing against Akaka.  The state knows him, there is a percentage of Democrats here that like him and think he’s an independent outsider to the system (true) but believe he’s still a good Democrat (false).  Those, together with Republicans and conservative indies, are what propped him up to 45% against Akaka.

    With Djou in the mix though, either one of them collapses or both are in for an embarrassing night when Hanabusa hits 50% on the special election, leaving them to split the rest.

    Akaka had his age and an unfair Time article (claiming he was one of the nation’s worst senators) working against him, Hanabusa does not.  Case ran a pretty aggressive campaign against Akaka, but I have no idea how he’s going to go up against Hanabusa.

    And yeah, if Djou loses the special, he’s toast in the general.

  37. Ya, it’s better than mmost states but still a joke.  If Dems there had any guts they’d reform Romneycar into real universal healthcare.

    I think you forgot Connecticut.  They passed a solid universal healthcare plan earlier this year called Sustinet and I believe it does have what amounts to a public option.  Rell vetoed it but Dems in the legislature overrided it.


    What does HI have?  I’m not familiar with their system.

  38. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10

    Since 1974, Hawaii has required all employers to provide relatively generous health care benefits to any employee who works 20 hours a week or more. If health care legislation passes in Congress, the rest of the country may barely catch up.


    Hawaii’s health insurance premiums are nearly tied with North Dakota for the lowest in the country, and Medicare costs per beneficiary are the nation’s lowest.


    Hawaii residents live longer than people in the rest of the country

  39. But this…

    Hawaii residents live longer than people in the rest of the country

    I imagine that has more to do with lifestyle than anything else.  It’s well known that Asians/polynesians tend to have healthy lifestyles and low obesity resulting in better longevity.  Hawaii’s demographics probably have a lot to do with that statement rather than any specific healthcare system.

  40. but it does have its problems, problems that will never truly be fixed until there is meaningful national reform.  I know SSP’s focus is not issue advocacy so let me just mention that one of the unintended consequences of the 20 hour law is that a lot of companies here have taken to moving away from full-time workers and looking for part-timers who will work less than 20 hours a week.  The end result is that a ton of people here work multiple part-time jobs because a lot of companies don’t want to pay the benefits for full-time workers.

    There was some talk about expanding the existing Hawaii law to include ALL workers but such a seemingly controversial idea never went anywhere.  We’ve done about as much as can politically be done here, we need something stronger from higher up.

  41. with so few Republicans, the Democrats basically ignore them.  Factions within the Dem caucus result.  From what I’ve seen, it’s not strictly about ideology (the way it is in US Congress), it’s more about certain local issues and especially concerning who gets to be in charge of each chamber.  There is not 100% loyalty behind our state senate president and state speaker of the house.  In fact a large number of members in both chambers would back other leaders.  I admit I don’t know all the details of why these splits exist, but the splits themselves are well-known.  I think part of it is old guard vs. newer members.

  42. there was an upswing for the Hawaii GOP in the 90s and very early 2000s.  A lot of the new blood in the Hawaii Dem caucus and base is fiercely progressive (many of the Hawaii Democratic delegates to the DNC in 2004 even voted for Kucinich).  The old guard, centered around Cayetano, was much more moderate and just plain ossified.  Knowing that the GOP would never really control the process, a lot of the most progressive forces broke from the Dems for awhile, leading to a small GOP bump…which has now disappeared.

  43. but then again, I’m doubtful we will get another Patsy Mink anytime soon.  The Hawaii Democratic Party is very machine-controlled, and while the machine does send very reliable, mainstream Democrats to Congress (our only real disappointment recently has been Ed Case, who actually made his name by fighting the machine in the state legislature) it doesn’t put a very high value on progressives eager to stir the pot.  I think Colleen Hanabusa will be a decent, capable representative.  But I don’t expect her to rock the boat the way Alan Grayson is.  I will vote for her and be happy to see her elected but I am not about to send her money.

  44. will come out in force for Hanabusa, especially in a low-turnout special election.  With no other establishment Democrat running, the unions should be unanimous in supporting her.

  45. “It’s well known that Asians/Polynesians tend to have healthy lifestyles and low obesity resulting in better longevity.” is likely correct for Asians. Its not so much for Polynesians who i believe have some of the worst obesity rates in the world on islands like Tonga. Hawaii may be different though due to better availability of good food.

  46. he’ll ever have at a Congressional seat.  I think when you grow up a Republican in Hawaii and want to hold federal office, you know that being Joe Cao for two years is the best you’re ever going to get, and that’s what you aim for.  I suppose he could run for Governor, but after Aiona gets crushed in 2010 there won’t be much support left for that.

  47. That Hawaii loves their incumbents. No incumbent has lost a race for reelection in the House or Senate or the governorship since statehood.

  48. getting into Congress, even for a short time, gets you on Republican welfare for the rest of your life. Thelma Drake, VA-02’s two-term empty suit Bush Republican, got a “consultant” job for a law firm (good gig if you can get it — she never even graduated from college) after leaving office and is now an advisor to Governor-elect McDonnell.

  49. when I learned that Pacific Island nations like Nauru and Tonga have obesity rates that put us Americans to shame (:-P) and wanted to find out why. I imagined that on those beautiful, warm islands, most people would be slim like Hawaiians. Turns out gorging and hibernating are deeply ingrained in Tongan, Nauran, etc. cultures.


    From the moment I arrived, the obsession with food was obvious. As my vast guide, David, drove me across the island, I saw 20 or so huge fires over which young men were spit-roasting sucking pigs – sometimes 10 at a time. Hieronymus Bosch would have loved it. The pigs were to be eaten at church conferences – week-long celebrations during which everyone attends three feasts every day. That is 21 feasts in a week. These were frighteningly sumptuous. Tables groaned with food, with a sucking pig every two metres and no space to park your elbows. Some were double-decked with extra food on a shelf above the main table. After a few speeches, everyone tucked in and when the congregation had eaten their fill, they carted off the leftovers in carrier bags.

    Overeating isn’t the only cause of obesity. The type of food is also to blame – Tongans eat a vast amount of fat. Although they adore sucking pig, it is expensive and usually saved for best. Corned beef is a more everyday staple, and it contains double the fat of that on sale in the UK. Tonga’s most popular cut of meat is the disconcertingly named “lamb flap”: lamb belly containing up to 50% fat.

    In addition, Tongans are huge carb fans, consuming the root vegetable taro, sweet potatoes or yam with every meal. But bad food is available the world over. What about the Tongan lifestyle? From my sweepingly empirical viewpoint, Tongans seem very different from the British: they aren’t aspirational in a worldly sense. In fact, many don’t seem keen to do much at all, apart from cooking. But Tongans don’t appear lazy – just … unmaterialistic. After all, what good is a flash set of wheels on an island with few roads? And with so much natural beauty at your disposal, a posh house seems like gilding the lily.

  50. What about the Tongan lifestyle? From my sweepingly empirical viewpoint, Tongans seem very different from the British: they aren’t aspirational in a worldly sense. In fact, many don’t seem keen to do much at all, apart from cooking. But Tongans don’t appear lazy – just … unmaterialistic. After all, what good is a flash set of wheels on an island with few roads? And with so much natural beauty at your disposal, a posh house seems like gilding the lily.

    Sounds like an enjoyable lifestyle overall.

  51. Californian, what you’re saying is exactly what I’m talking about: too many progressives don’t have a grip on the real world.

    Ed Case got 45% of the vote in the Dem primary, and the Repub got only 36% of the vote in the general.  Danny Akaka got only 54% in the Dem primary, but 60% in the general.  It wasn’t Repubs who supported Case in the primary, it was Dems–progressive Dems who then voted for Akaka in the general against the Repub.

    You have no basis for saying that Case got “mostly GOP support,” except the fact that you’ve heard it from others.

    The problem is that Akaka was the candidate of Inouye’s machine, just like Colleen Hanabusa is now.  And the machine works hard to get monolithic Dem support, which means claiming that their candidates are the progressive ones.  Most of the people from Hawaii who write on SSP, DU, Kos, and other prog blogs are machine supporters first, progressives only second.

    Akaka’s support came from anti-GLBTQ Dems who don’t care about the environment–just the same people who will support Hanabusa this time.

    Ed’s the only candidate who supports GLBTQ issues and the environment, as well as choice.  He’s the real progressive.

  52. Case said he would have voted for the Iraq resolution in 2002 if he were in Congress then, while Akaka voted against that resolution.


    Voted YES on making the PATRIOT Act permanent. (Akaka opposed the Patriot Act.)

    Supports Hyde Park Declaration of “Third Way” centrism.

    Member of Democratic Leadership Council.

    Oppose a timetable of troops withdrawal from Iraq.

    Voted YES on declaring Iraq part of War on Terror with no exit date.

    How exactly are these “progressive”?

    (By the way, Akaka was rated 100% by the HRC, and 84% by the LCV; Case got 90% from LCV, not much difference.)

  53. Of course turnout was low in the Dem primary–although very high compared to what it would otherwise have been, because Case vs Akaka was a hotly contested race.  The Dem primary turnout was not swollen by Repubs–it was basically Dems choosing between a progressive pro-environment pro-LGBTQ pro-choice challenger and a dinosaur machine candidate who hadn’t accomplished a thing in his entire career.  Ed Case lost because most of the voters in Hawaii are machine first, Dems second, progressives third.

  54. Akaka voted FOR the Patriot Act (as did Inouye).

    Akaka also voted FOR drilling in the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge.  Then, in the 2006 election he said maybe he hadn’t paid enough attention to what the native Alaskans wanted, and he promised to go back.  The Sierra Club nearly endorsed the Republican, but in the end they backed Akaka only because of this promise.  As soon as the election was over, he reneged on the promise–saying, in effect, that his health wasn’t good enough for him to travel to Alaska.

    How are these progressive?

    Ed Case was one of many, many members of DLC, including (for example) Rahm Emanuel.  100% pro-choice.  One of strongest pro-LGBTQ voters in Congress.

    How aren’t these progressive?

  55. I’m saying that on the issues that are most important to me–LGBTQ, environment, choice, things like that–Ed Case is far, far more progressive than Akaka.  Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think LGBTQ issues counted for anyting in the Progressive Punch score.  So you’re giving Akaka a free ride on that one.  In contrast, Ed Case nearly sacrificed his entire political career to fight against a constitutional amendment that Colleen Hanabusa and other Dem leaders used to prohibit same-sex marriage.  In the next election, every single other legislator who opposed the constitutional amendment was defeated.  Case was later targeted by Mike Gabbard, a rabid homophobe.  After Gabbard lost to Case, he was elected (as a Repub) to the State Senate, then switched to the Dems and–with Hanabusa’s support–became Chairman of the Judiciary Committee so he could torpedo any new LGBTQ movement.  Akaka and Hanabusa have never lifted a finger to help the LGBTQ community, while Case would have sacrificed all he had politically for us.

    Case is the true progressive in this one, and he was the true progressive against Akaka.

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