Democrats All But Concede In Hawaii Special Election

By Sean J. Miller
The Hill

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) is pulling out of the Hawaii special election for Rep. Neil Abercrombie’s (D) seat, effectively handing the seat to Republicans.

“The DCCC will not be investing additional resources in the [Hawaii] special election,” Jennifer Crider, a DCCC spokeswoman, said in a statement. “Local Democrats were unable to work out their differences. The DCCC will save the resources we would have invested in the Hawaii special election this month for the general election in November.”

The committee concluded there’s no way state Sen. Colleen Hanabusa and former Rep. Ed Case (D-Hawaii) can split the Democratic vote and still defeat Honolulu City Councilman Charles Djou (R).

The committee spent more than $300,000 in the Hawaii race, according to a source.

The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) said the DCCC’s involvement revealed a local party “in disarray.”

“The DCCC is giving up in a district as blue as this one due to their own blunders and a fed-up constituency that rejected their reckless agenda of higher taxes, negligent spending and government takeovers,” Joanna Burgos, an NRCC spokeswoman, said in a statement.

President Barack Obama won the district with 70 percent in 2008.

Hanabusa has been in third place in most polls of the three-way contest. National Democrats were sending the message to step aside through Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) and his staff, according to the Honolulu Advertiser.

But the Hanabusa camp seemed to hint she was staying in the race to help her chances in November, when the seat will be in play again.

A local strategist close to Hanabusa told the paper the campaign has heard the message to step aside for the interest of the party.

“It has not fallen on deaf ears,” the strategist said. “But we understand our community better than anybody and, come November, there will be a Democrat there.”

The special election is Saturday, May 22, and is a winner-take-all format. The winner will serve out the remainder of Abercrombie’s term and have to re-win the seat this fall. Abercrombie resigned to run for governor.

Democrats had been on a winning streak when it came to special elections. Now the party can concentrate on next Tuesday’s special election for the late Rep. John Murtha’s (D-Pa.) seat.


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