The open seat vacated by former Congressman Neil Abercrombie, Hawaiian Democrat, who is now running for governor, has caused more headaches for Democrats than the party bargained for.
Republican Honolulu Councilman Charles Djou became a thorn in the side of the Democratic Party when two Democrats running against him in the three way special Congressional election, former Congressman Ed Case and state Senate President Colleen Hanabusa, run the risk of splitting each other’s vote. There is no primary in Hawaii, and the race is a winner takes all election, so Democrats are scrambling to make sure Mr. Djou does not benefit from their party split between two candidates.
I asked Senator Daniel Inouye, Hawaiian Democrat, if he was concerned about his state party in regards to Mr. Djou’s race against two Democrats. “Oh yes…very much so, but its not over yet,” he said.
The 39 year-old Republican is unsurprisingly polling ahead of his opponents and Democrats are further concerned that the Honolulu councilman could very well take a seat in a district that has not been Republican for twenty years.
Very often during elections, a politician will seldom say the name of their challenger or the incumbent in public referring to he or she as only “my opponent.” An incumbent will do this to keep his or her challenger’s name ID under the radar and a challenger does it to level the playing field to make the incumbent seem less powerful. Unfortunately for President Barack Obama, he could not mention the names of the Democrats running for the open Hawaii seat in a 40-second recorded telephone message he made, where he tells voters to vote for a Democrat but did not specifically mention either Mr. Case or Ms. Hanabusa.
“I need a Democrat that will support my agenda in Congress,” says President Obama. “I need someone that will hold Wall Street and the big special interests accountable. It’s crucial that you vote and that you vote Democratic.”
No wonder, Mr. Inouye is concerned. May 22 is the day Hawaiians in the 1st district will go to the polls and vote for a new U.S. Representative.