Over the holiday weekend, Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-Honolulu) announced that she will challenge Gov. David Ige in next year’s Democratic primary. Gov. Ige scored a huge primary win in 2014, defeating Gov. Neil Abercrombie with 67% of the vote, and now Rep. Hanabusa will attempt to repeat history next year. Doing so would be even more extraordinary in Hawaii, before an electorate that rarely defeats incumbents. Prior to unseating Gov. Abercrombie, Mr. Ige served for 30 years in the Hawaii state legislature.
Ms. Hanabusa was elected to the House in 2010, defeating short-term GOP incumbent Charles Djou. The latter won a crowded jungle special election when the Democratic candidates split a majority of the vote. The Congresswoman served two terms in the House before running unsuccessfully for the Senate in 2014, losing to appointed Sen. Brian Schatz (D). Mr. Schatz replaced the late Sen. Daniel Inouye (D) who served in the Senate for just short of 50 years, passing away before completing his ninth term. She returned to the House when her successor, Rep. Mark Takai (D-Aiea), passed away from pancreatic cancer before completing his first term. With Rep. Hanabusa again departing the 1st District seat, we can again expect a hotly contested Democratic primary with a potentially active general election.
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