Breaking down Hawaii’s primaries – POLITICO
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WORKING FOR THE WEEKEND — Voters in Hawaii head to the polls Saturday for another primary day. And when Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-Hawaii) declared she would try to dethrone Democratic Gov. David Ige, it looked like her primary to lose.
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Public polling early in the year had Hanabusa lapping Ige (one from Mason-Dixon Polling in March had her up 20 in the primary). Hanabusa’s camp painted Ige, who defeated former Gov. Neil Abercrombie in a 2014 primary, as an absentee governor who badly mishandled the false-alarm missile alert in January. But gradually, the narrative on the race changed, and it has started to look like it could slip through her fingers.
“The governor was kind of bumping along up to [the missile alert] and after that everyone thought he’d be dead,” a senior state Democratic strategist, who requested anonymity to speak freely, told Score.
“On his side, what really helped him [electorally] was the volcano that happened in May,” the senior strategist said. “He had a chance to prove he learned from his missteps and … manage a crisis.” Ige’s campaign has run on this, securing the endorsement of popular Mayor Harry Kim and running an ad featuring his response to the eruption.
Public polls tightened and eventually showed Ige regaining a lead over Hanabusa as the campaign dragged. Ige was also able to shore up support among key constituencies.
“[Hanabusa] is struggling with the progressives,” said Matthew Fitch, executive director of the Merriman River Group, which conducted polls for the local outlet Honolulu Civil Beat. “That seems to be where the air kind of went out of her sails a while ago.”
Observers also said Hanabusa struggled to make her case to voters. “She didn’t seem to present a compelling enough reason to come back from Washington,” Chad Blair, the politics and opinion editor of Civil Beat said. “There’s an appearance she changes jobs too quickly. … Ige has actually criticised her on this, saying, ‘It looks a little too opportunistic.’”
Hanabusa’s campaign maintains it feels good about the race. “What we’re seeing on the ground and in the community is very encouraging and doesn’t quite match the polling,” said Keith DeMello, a spokesman for the campaign. “The sense that we’re getting is the momentum has shifted again.”
The primary race to replace Hanabusa in Hawaii’s 1st District could send a familiar face back to Congress: former Rep. Ed Case. The well-known, moderate Case could be the front-runner in a crowded race that also features Lt. Gov. Doug Chin and state Rep. Kaniela Ing, for whom Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez campaigned on Thursday.
Happy Friday! Next time I write about Hawaii, I hope to actually do it from there. Email my editor telling him how great of an idea that is. As always, you can email me at [email protected] or DM me at @ZachMontellaro.
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Days until the 2018 election: 88.
Upcoming election dates — Aug. 11: Hawaii primaries. — Aug. 14: Minnesota, Wisconsin, Connecticut, Vermont primaries.
SHADY SUPER PACS — Campaign Pro’s Maggie Severns: “Super PACs are increasingly ignoring their duty to disclose their spending to the Federal Election Commission, according the watchdog group Campaign Legal Center, which is filing three complaints asking the FEC to crack down. The complaints highlight super PACs created during this cycle’s primary elections, which spent money but sidestepped rules for reporting how much they spent with the FEC, leaving voters in the dark on who funded the efforts. They are just part of a trend of bad behavior in the super PAC space, Campaign Legal Center says.”