In an expected move, Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Kailua) announced over the weekend that she will not seek another term in the House. Her retirement statement indicated she wants to fully concentrate on her presidential run. Early polling suggested that her running for President was not a particularly positive move with her constituents as more than 60% say they wanted to see her withdraw from the national campaign. Additionally, when paired in polling with leading primary opponent Kai Kahele, a Hilo area state Senator, Ms. Gabbard’s margins were not particularly impressive.
For his part, Sen. Kahele indicated he will continue his congressional run and now looks to become the early favorite to capture the Democratic nomination, which is tantamount to election in this safe Democratic seat. Mr. Kahele has raised just over $500,000 for the race, with about $371,000 remaining in his campaign account. Candidate filing is not until June 2nd for the August 8th primary, so much time remains for other Democrats to enter the race.
Public Policy Polling went into the field to test presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard in her own congressional district. So far, the Congresswoman has been non-committal about whether she would seek re-election if or when her presidential campaign ends. The survey (9/27-29; 990 HI-2 likely Democratic primary voters) finds Gabbard’s numbers acceptable but not particularly strong. It is clear that her constituents want her to end her national campaign. PPP finds that 60% of those sampled said Ms. Gabbard should drop out of the presidential race against only 28% who said she should continue.
Overall, her job approval is considered a tepid 44:34% positive to negative because the survey sampling universe is limited to likely Democratic primary voters. Paired with state Sen. Kai Kahele (D-Hilo), Rep. Gabbard posts a healthy lead of 48-26%, but she is below majority support among a group that should constitute her political base. Sen. Kahele is an announced congressional candidate and appears willing to stay in the Democratic primary race even if Rep. Gabbard returns.
Former 1st District Representative Colleen Hanabusa (D-Honolulu), who won the congressional post in 2010 but left it to run unsuccessfully for Senate in 2014, only to return after her successor, Rep. Mark Takai (D-Aiea), passed away from pancreatic cancer, and then left again to run unsuccessfully for Governor in 2018, is looking to rebound yet again. Yesterday, she filed to run for Mayor of Honolulu, hoping to succeed term-limited Democratic incumbent Kirk Caldwell.
Ironically, she may again face a former foe who has also run unsuccessfully for several offices. Former US Rep. Charles Djou, who served as a Republican but has since left the party, is also considering running again for Mayor, a position he previously attempted to win.
The first cross-party endorsement has already been made for the 2020 election, and it goes to Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. Former presidential candidate and veteran Republican Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX) has publicly endorsed Ms. Gabbard saying she is “by far the very, very best…”. It is unclear how much this endorsement will help her in Democratic primaries, but it certainly demonstrates she is attempting to have a rather wide appeal.
Ever since Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Kailua) announced for President, things have not gone well for her at home. Soon after her presidential move, state Sen. Kai Kahele (D-Hilo) announced for her congressional seat. Should Ms. Gabbard not fare well in the presidential race she will now face a serious re-nomination challenge in the Democratic primary.
On Friday, Democratic former Governor Ben Cayetano announced his endorsement of Sen. Kahele. Previously, two other Democratic ex-Governors, Neil Abercrombie and John Waihee, also endorsed the challenger. Rep. Gabbard has consistently absorbed attacks from both the left and right. She also created major controversy when she met with Syrian dictator Bashar Hafez al-Assad.
Soon after announcing that she plans to run for President, Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Kailua) has drawn a serious Democratic challenger for her congressional seat. State Sen. Kai Kahele (D-Hilo) announced that he will run for the 2nd District House seat whether or not Ms. Gabbard seeks re-election in 2020. Under Hawaii law, an individual can simultaneously run for President and another office.
Mr. Kahele was originally appointed to the state Senate when his father, veteran state legislator Gil Kahele, passed away. Kai Kahele then won the Democratic nomination later in 2016, and the general election in November of that year. This potential contest could well become a serious political challenge.
In a CNN interview over the weekend, four-term Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Kailua) said that she will formally announce her campaign for President this week. Ms. Gabbard was first elected to the House in 2012 after serving in the Hawaii state House of Representatives and on the Honolulu City Council. She did not seek re-election after one term in the legislature in order to serve in Iraq with her Hawaii National Guard unit.
Rep. Gabbard created controversy when she met with Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad in January of 2017. Michael Ahrens, a spokesman for the Republican National Committee, summed up the perception of Rep. Gabbard, saying “liberals think she’s too conservative, conservatives think she’s too liberal, and just about everyone thinks her coziness with Bashar al-Assad is disturbing.”
Aloha State Gov. David Ige (D) appears poised to make an epic comeback in his Democratic primary battle with US Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-Honolulu). Earlier in the cycle, Gov. Ige trailed by as much as 29 points with a support figure under 25%, but now the Merriman River Group (7/19-21; 871 HI likely Democratic primary voters) finds that he has eclipsed the polling deficit and more. According to the MRG results, as the two candidates trade political punches nearing the August 11th primary election date, Gov. Ige now leads the contest, 43-34%.
Four years ago, then-state Sen. Ige denied Gov. Neil Abercrombie re-nomination with a 66% Democratic primary victory. Earlier this year, it appeared that the tables might turn on the new incumbent. Now, however, the trends suggest that Mr. Ige is far from becoming a political casualty.
Former Congressman Ed Case (D-HI-2) may be coming back. Mr. Case was first elected in a 2002 special election, but decided on an ill-fated Democratic primary challenge to Sen. Daniel Akaka in the 2006 Democratic primary instead of continuing his career in the House. Mr. Case has since attempted another run for the US Senate and entered a 2010 special congressional election for the 1st District. Before coming to Congress, he had lost a gubernatorial campaign.
Now a new Mason-Dixon Polling and Strategy survey (7/6-11; 244 HI-1 likely Democratic primary voters) signals that Mr. Case may be returning to the winning track. According to the data, he leads the field of five Democratic opponents with 36%. Lt. Gov. Doug Chin is second with 27%, ahead of state Sen. Donna Mercado Kim (14%), and three others who fail to reach 10% support. The Hawaii primary is scheduled for August 11th.
Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy released a new survey (7/6-11; 494 HI likely Democratic primary voters) that finds Gov. David Ige pulling ahead of his Democratic primary challenger, US Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-Honolulu), for the first time. The new M-D numbers find Gov. Ige now ahead 44-40%. This is a significant finding because it was Mason-Dixon, in March, who found Ms. Hanabusa forging a commanding 47-27% advantage.
Four years ago, then-state Sen. Ige ousted Gov. Neil Abercrombie in the Democratic primary with a whopping 66% of the vote. Now, it appears that Mr. Ige may be in position to fall to a similar fate. He has been rebounding over the past couple of months, securing several key labor organizations support and doing well on the fundraising circuit. The race now looks to be a mad dash to the political finish line for the August 11th primary election. The eventual Democratic nominee will hold the Governor’s office in November.
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