Hawaii's Brewing Political Storm


Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D-Hawaii) is running for Governor. Since it is now obvious that Honolulu’s Mayor, Mufi Hannemann -- who is virtually omnipresent in the Hawaii media – will challenge Abercrombie for the Democratic nomination, the Congressman realized he needs to be back home, and fast. Thus, Abercrombie announced that he will leave his federal post to fully concentrate on campaigning for Governor. Immediately dogged by his fellow Democrats for abandoning the House before the healthcare legislation is passed and key bills pertaining to the classification of Hawaii’s native population are dispensed with, Abercrombie immediately backtracked to say he will leave after these bills pass. But, as he told the local media, that time will come soon. The Democrats have real problems in maintaining their hold on this congressional seat. Of the state’s two districts, the 1st is the most competitive. A special election will likely be held in one winner-take-all format – and this could favor Honolulu City Councilman Charles Djou, the consensus Republican candidate. Djou, in his second term on the Council, is a former state legislator. He has twice defeated Democratic incumbents to obtain his offices. National Republican leaders believe Djou is one of the best candidates throughout the country. In a winner-take-all election, the Republican could have enough votes to win by solidifying the GOP base. The Democrats will split between former 2nd District Rep. Ed Case, and state Senate President Colleen Hanabusa. The two ran against each other before in a 2nd District special election, a race Case won. Once portraying themselves as each being the one to represent rural Hawaii, now they claim to be best for metropolitan Honolulu, too. If Djou wins the special, he will then be the incumbent going into the 2010 general election. The 1st District can go Republican. It elected Patricia Saiki twice before Abercrombie won the seat when the congresswoman vacated to run for Senate. Republican Gov. Linda Lingle easily carried the district in both of her victorious statewide runs, and even won the region when she lost her 1998 race. Charles Djou is a budding superstar candidate. Watch for a potential GOP steal in this tropical paradise. Jim Ellis is a former political advisor to the House Republican majority and currently provides election analysis for clients of the PRIsm Information Network. With Bennet Kelley he has formed Filibanter to provide live presentations and media interviews combining political filibustering and banter.

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