Hawaii Primary Is A Tough Fight For Democratic Governor, Senator

Today’s (August 9) primary election in Hawaii may have several races on the ballot, but the only two being watched nationally are the bitter fights for governor and U.S. Senate, which feature the two men who made up the gubernatorial ticket in the 2010 election and could spell the end of a four-decade career for the state’s four-term governor.

In a feature in Saturday’s New York Times, the paper dove into both Hawaii primary races and highlighted some of the problems Gov. Neil Abercrombie is facing in his re-election fight against a little known state senator, David Ige.

“On first glance, the governor should be in good shape. The state’s economy is growing. Unemployment is low and dropping. And he has enjoyed enormous advantages in fund-raising and name recognition over his rival, David Ige, a state senator.

“But Mr. Abercrombie, who has held elected office in Hawaii for nearly four decades, has trailed in almost every recent poll.

‘”He’s really lost his mojo,’ said Neal Milner, a professor of political science at the University of Hawaii.

“The brash, tell-it-like-it-is style that has served Mr. Abercrombie well for decades, Mr. Milner said, ‘has somehow turned against him’ as governor.”

As a result, Mr. Ige has entered today’s Hawaii primary with an advantage and a race that is his to lose, according to a state senate colleague who spoke to the Times but has not endorsed either man.

The other race of note is the Hawaii primary for U.S. Senate, which features U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz and U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, both Democrats.

Schatz was Abercrombie’s running mate when he ran for governor and was subsequently appointed by the governor to fill the remaining years on the term of the late U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye. Schatz was appointed to the seat, the Times said, in spite of Inouye’s expressed desire to Abercrombie before his death to see Hanabusa appointed to his seat.

Politico reported that the elections were still scheduled to take place today, in spite of a tropical storm that his the state yesterday and another that is expected to sweep near the state in coming days.

The storms are rare — the last hurricane to hit Hawaii was in 1992 — and are part of a one, two, three punch for the state, especially the big island of Hawaii, where a 4.5 earthquake struck as the island was bracing for the first tropical storm to roll in, according to a previous report here on The Inquisitr.

[Image via Flickr Creative Commons]