With an unprecented two hurricanes taking aim at the Isles, yesterday’s Primary election was threatened, but, after the Big Isle shredded Iselle, the election happened with minimal impact. Two precincts in the Puna district, here on the windward side of the Big Isle, were forced to close due to the destruction from Iselle. And, their absentee votes will ultimately decide the Schatz-Hanabusa feud.
Now, let’s delve into the results… (PDF!)
Who is David Ige, the Hawaii state senator who defeated Gov. Neil Abercrombie by a whopping 35 percentage points in a Democratic primary?
A sitting Hawaii governor had not lost a campaign for re-election since 1962, so Ige’s defeat Saturday of Abercrombie is one for the history books. Abercrombie, who served in Congress for more than 20 years before his 2010 election as governor, is the first Hawaii governor to be defeated in a primary and only the second not to win a second term. William Francis Quinn, a Republican who was governor from 1957 to 1962, also lost his re-election bid. Quinn’s tenure included two years when Hawaii was still a territory and not yet a state.
Ige, 57, has served in Hawaii’s Legislature for 29 years — 21 in the state Senate and eight in the state House. An electrical engineer by training, Ige has focused on information and telecommunications policy as a legislator. He was chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee for three years. During his legislative career, Ige served as chairman of nine different Senate and House committees.
Ige was outspent 1o to 1 in the Democratic primary. Abercrombie had spent $4.9 million vs. $447,000 for Ige, according to Hawaii’s Campaign Spending Commission. Ige also lacked Abercrombie’s endorsements, including the backing of President Obama. ‘The voters of Hawaii have said loud and clear that it’s not money that wins elections,’ Ige said in a statement after his primary victory. ‘It’s about grass-roots campaigning, meeting voters face-to-face, and above all, listening to what they have to say.’
Here’s a great synopsis on Abercrombie’s crummy record…
Former Gov. Ben Cayetano said he believes Gov. Neil Abercrombie stunning defeat happened because Abercrombie lost touch with his base.
Abercrombie has also lost favor with his supporters in part because he reversed his positions on key issues with explaining why, Cayetano said.
For example Abercrombie’s backers believed he was anti-development and pro environment when they cast their vote in the governor’s race in 2010.
However, Abercrombie has become one of the most pro-development governor’s in Hawaii’s history, allowing Koa Ridge and Hoopili development projects to move forward.
Abercrombie told supporters he would protect the ag land in Hoopili.
Environmentalists tried to stop these developments for years, but in the end, it was Abercrombie who pushed them through.
The Hoopili housing and shopping center projects will be built on some of Oahu’s only remaining rich soil land where farms have been growing produce for Hawaii’s stores.
During Abercrombie’s term, construction in Kakaako is also booming like never before with plans for up to 29 buildings in the waterfront area.
While the governor claims Hawaii residents need housing, –the condos range from $600,000 to $50 million, Cayetano said, not prices many Hawaii families can afford.
Cayetano said in addition, Abercrombie’s personality is abrasive and that contrasts sharply with Sen. David Ige’s quiet mannerisms.
I was one of the participants of a protest that Abercrummy went off at…!
Moving along to the Hanabusa-Schatz showdown…
Neither U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz nor his Democratic primary challenger, U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, went to bed after Saturday’s primary election knowing who won their party’s nomination.
In one of the closest races in state history, Schatz and Hanabusa were separated by a mere 1,635 votes with all but two precincts accounted for and potentially as many as 8,000 votes from Hawaii island still to be tallied.
Election officials still need to tabulate votes from two Puna polling sites that were closed as a result of roads damaged by Tropical Storm Iselle, affecting about 8,000 registered voters. Chief Elections Officer Scott Nago said ballots would be mailed to those who did not vote prior to Saturday by mail or walk-in and voters would have several days to return them.
Neither camp conceded Saturday night.
‘We’ve got some more votes to be counted and we’ll see what happens there,’ Schatz said in an interview with Hawaii News Now. ‘We came from behind and we like where we’re at.’
Schatz said he would wait until Sunday morning to start strategizing on the extended voting period.
Roland Casamina, a Schatz campaign co-chairman, said personal calls to Puna voters will be critical.
‘We really have to go and contact the people we know on that island,’ he said.
Former Gov. John Waihee said it’s going to be an ‘on the ground’ campaign with lots of hand-shaking.
‘I think the senator will do very well there,’ he said.
Hanabusa had led since the results first started coming in, but Schatz closed the margin as more and more precincts reported.
‘This election is not over,’ Hanabusa told a crowd of enthusiastic supporters at her primary night rally at the Hawaii Laborers’ Union Local 368 hall in Kalihi. ‘It is far from over. Anything can happen.’
Seriously, Hanabusa should concede to Schatz, since the Punatics are largely DFH’s and highly unlikely to vote for the DLC tool that Hanabusa is. Her current congressional seat went to the more progressive Mike Takai, who beat another long-time DLC tool, Donna Mercado Kim.
Meanwhile, it was a mixed bag for progressives with some key victories and losses for local and state offices.
One of the key victories was St. Senator Malama Solomon’s loss to Lorraine Rodero-Inouye…
What she was pushing for was a massive expansion of her Innovations Development Group (IDG) geothermal plants in Puna, and, Billion dollar undersea cables to link Maui and Oahu, that are very unpopular…!
One key loss was Terez Amato’s terrific grassroots campaign to unseat the long-time DLC tool, Roz Baker…!
State Senator, Dist 6 – D
BAKER, Roz 2,623 52.4%
AMATO, Terez 2,172 43.4%
In wrapping up, unfortunately, my Occupy Hilo compadre, Kerri Marks, lost her bid for County Council, despite Shatz’s DFH outreach…!
Photo from Kerri Marks with permission