Hawaiian special House contest draws national dollars


US Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D-HI) recently became ex-Rep. Abernathy, and a special run-off election is about a month and a half away. But its open come-one, come-all format has pitted one local Democrat against another to the favor of the lone serious Republican candidate.

Enter the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. It has decided that while the two Dems bash away at each other, it will go on the television in Hawaii’s 1st District to take on the Republican for both.

According to the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza, former US Rep. Ed Case is in the midst of a feud with Hawaii State Sen. Ed Case Colleen Hanabusa – both are running and splitting Democratic vote in a district carried by Barack Obama in 2008 with 70% support.

That has created an opening for Honolulu City Councilman Charles Djou (R). The DCCC wants to make sure that Djou gets taken down a few pegs with a little negative advertising, and are hitting him hard with concerns about his position on keeping jobs in the US rather than allowing them to migrate overseas.

The special election to fill the seat is scheduled for 5/22/10.

RBR-TVBR observation: Some places are located on political fault lines and are perennial battlegrounds. But sometimes, what vintage comedy team Rowan and Martin termed the Fickle Finger of Fate strikes and turns what should be a sleepy little district with an almost pre-ordained outcome into a surprise battleground. Such is the case in HI-1.

If Djou wins, he could have only a short time in Washington. The Democrats will have the advantage of an opportunity to settle on just one candidate in November, and even though Djou will have the advantages of his brief incumbency, he’ll still have some very daunting political demographic to face.

However, broadcasters enjoying an unexpected special-election windfall could possibly enjoy a political category double dip if Djou wins in May. Democrats will make a concerted effort to make sure they put this seat back on their side of the aisle, and if it looks like that will be any kind of problem at all, more national cash may flow into the district.