Saturday, August 9, 2014

THE SURF'S UP! by Laurel Davila

Per the Daily KOS -  see link below: "On Saturday Aug. 9, Hawaii will hold its primary, where several competitive races will be decided. Polls are set to close at 9 PM PT (12 AM ET).
Hawaii may give us our most unpredictable primary night of the year. Polling in Hawaii is notoriously difficult in the best of circumstances, and these are far from the best of circumstances. A major storm hit the state ahead of the primary, and another is expected to arrive shortly after Saturday. The primary is expected to proceed on schedule and a number of votes have already been cast. However, it's anyone's guess what effect the storms will have on these contests.

• HI-Sen (D): Appointed Democratic Sen. Brian Schatz faces a serious challenge as he seeks to fill the final two years of the late Daniel Inouye's term. Schatz was chosen for the seat by Gov. Neil Abercrombie over Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, and Hanabusa is running against the senator. Schatz has the backing of Hawaii native Barack Obama and a number of well-funded liberal groups, while Hanabusa has the support of the Inouye family. Outside environmental groups like the League of Conservation Voters have gotten behind Schatz, who has made environmental protection a centerpiece of his campaign.

Both candidates have very different bases of support: Schatz is relying on more liberal white voters, while Hanabusa's base is older Japanese American voters. Two polls taken in late July show very contradictory results. A Merriman River Group survey gave Schatz a 49-41 edge, while a Ward Research Poll gives Hanabusa a 50-42 lead. The winner will have no problem in the general, but it's far from clear who will make it there.

• HI-Gov (D): Democratic Gov. Neil Abercrombie has had a long career in Hawaiian politics, but it could all come to an end on Saturday. Abercrombie has had a bumpy tenure as governor with some notable successes and failures, and he now faces a primary challenge from state Sen. David Ige. Few gave Ige much of a chance when he first entered the race, and the governor has easily outspent him. However, polls have consistently shown Ige ahead. The two candidates don't have many philosophical differences, but Ige is running as someone who could be more effective than Abercrombie. Neither man will be able to rest easy after the primary: A competitive general election is expected, with 2010 Republican nominee Duke Aiona and Democrat-turned-independent former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann in the mix.

• HI-01 (D): Seven Democrats are running to succeed Hanabusa in her Honolulu-based seat. State Senate President Donna Mercado Kim started out ahead of the pack, but her opposition to same sex marriage left her vulnerable. State Rep. Mark Takai has been gaining in the polls, and the last few have him even or ahead of Kim. Honolulu City Councilman Stanley Chang has gone on the air late and has worked to portray himself as the most progressive candidate. Polls show Chang a distant third but in a state like Hawaii surprises are always quite possible. The winner will be the favorite against Republican former Rep. Charles Djou, who served for a few months in 2010 and has been raising a good amount of money." 

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