Hawaii Gubernatorial election, 2014

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Hawaii Gubernatorial Election

Primary Date
August 9, 2014

General Election Date:
November 4, 2014

Incumbent prior to election:
Neil Abercrombie Democratic Party
Neil Abercrombie.jpg

Hawaii State Executive Elections
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Governor Lieutenant Governor

Current trifecta for Democrats
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State executive offices in Hawaii
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The Hawaii gubernatorial election will take place on November 4, 2014. The winner of the election will serve a 4-year term in office.

Incumbent Neil Abercrombie (D) ran for re-election but failed to secure re-nomination in the Democratic primary.

Hawaii is one of 14 states that uses an open primary system, in which registered voters do not have to be members of a party to vote in that party's primary.[1][2][3]

The race has been rated a "Toss-up" by The Cook Political Report and Governing, among numerous other political analysts and publications, current as of September 2014.[4] [5]

The competitive gubernatorial contest is the only race on the November ballot that threatens to shift the partisan balance of power in Hawaii. Going into the 2014 elections, both chambers of the state legislature and the governorship are held by the Democratic Party, making Hawaii a state government trifecta, or a single party government. The Hawaii House of Representatives and Hawaii State Senate are considered safe Democratic, but if the governor's office turns red, Hawaii would lose its trifecta status. (Learn more about the state's most competitive legislative races on the battleground chambers page.)


General election

Democratic primary

Republican primary


Democratic primary

Governor of Hawaii, Democratic Primary, 2014
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngDavid Ige 67.4% 157,050
Neil Abercrombie Incumbent 31.5% 73,507
Van Tanabe 1.1% 2,622
Total Votes 233,179
Election Results Via:Hawaii Division of Elections.

Republican primary

Governor of Hawaii, Republican Primary, 2014
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngDuke Aiona 97.2% 41,832
Stuart Gregory 1.5% 640
Charles Collins 1.3% 580
Total Votes 43,052
Election Results Via:Hawaii Division of Elections.

Race background

Democratic incumbent Gov. Neil Abercrombie ran unsuccessfully for re-election in 2014. The first term chief executive campaigned on tenterhooks for a possible second term before suffering a humiliating 36 point defeat by state Sen. David Ige in the August 9 Democratic primary election.[12][13]

Wavering approval numbers, key endorsement losses and the emergence of formidable challengers in both the primary and general election placed Abercrombie at the top of the list of most vulnerable seats in the 2014 gubernatorial election cycle. In the months leading up to the primary, inconsistent polling data and conflicting race projections thickened the air of uncertainty which hung over Abercrombie's re-election bid. Still, Ige's upset by a landslide 2-1 margin, despite outspending Ige 10-1, marked a stunning early elimination for the incumbent.[14][15][16] In the aftermath of the primary, Abercrombie attributed his defeat to his decision to call a special session to legalize gay marriage in November 2013. According to Abercrombie, Republican opponents of gay marriage took advantage of the Democratic Party's open primary to vote en masse for Ige, who happened to have supported Abercrombie's push for the measure in the legislature, because Abercrombie's absence in the general election paved the way for the GOP to reclaim the governor's seat in the general election and ultimately block the measure's progress.[17]

As far back as November 2013, several factors besides the gay marriage issue indicated Abercrombie could be at risk of losing re-election in 2014, beginning with long-time Hawaii lawmaker David Ige's entry into the Democratic primary race. Ige has been the state Sen. for district 16 since 1994 and currently serves as chair of the chamber's Ways and Means Committee. Abercrombie trailed Ige in each of the Democratic primary polls taken after the June 3 candidate filing deadline, including a Honolulu Civil Beat Poll of likely Democratic voters conducted by Merriman River Group about a week before the primary showing Ige leading 51-41 percent.[18][19] Despite having secured the endorsement of fellow Hawaii-native and Democratic President Barack Obama, more overall attention was paid to Ige's endorsements from ex-governors Ben Cayetano and George Ariyoshi, both influential Hawaii Democrats previously considered close allies of Abercrombie.[20][21]

The notable defections of Cayetano and Ariyoshi could have stemmed from Abercrombie's controversial December 2012 decision to appoint his then-Lieutenant Governor, Brian E. Schatz (D), to fill the open U.S. Senate seat left by the death of veteran Senator Daniel Inouye (D). For Abercrombie, tapping Schatz meant defying Inouye's deathbed wish that his successor be U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa.[22][23] Abercrombie was required to appoint one of three individuals submitted by the state party of the incumbent, and Hanabusa—in addition to being Inouye's stated preference—had topped the list of early contenders, therefore the governor's call angered some members of the party.[24][25][26] After being picked over for the Senate post, Hanabusa threatened taking on Abercrombie for the 2014 Democratic gubernatorial primary nomination.[27][28] Although Hanabusa ultimately decided to pursue a full term in Inouye's seat in the 2014 election, a measure of residual ill-will toward Abercrombie may have existed among the state's Democratic elite and possibly affected his chances of winning a second term.

If Abercrombie had survived Ige's primary challenge, another threat would have awaited him in the second phase of the election in the form of ex-Hawaii Lieutenant Governor and 2010 Republican gubernatorial nominee Duke Aiona, who lost the office to Abercrombie four years ago this November. Aiona launched his second bid in early 2014 in hopes of staging a general election re-match with Abercrombie. Polls taken prior to Abercrombie's primary knockout reinforced expectations of a tight general election contest between the former foes.[18] On August 9, Aiona won the GOP nomination for the second consecutive cycle, earning 97 percent of the vote in a three-way race.[12]

The last time a sitting Hawaii Governor ran for re-election and failed was in 1962, when Republican William Francis Quinn, who, in addition to being Hawaii's first governor was also its first and only lame duck governor, until Abercrombie; Quinn was unseated in the 1962 general election by Democratic challenger John Anthony Burns. [29]


Hawaii Governor - General Election
Poll David Ige (D) Duke Aiona (R)Mufi Hannemann (I)OtherUndecidedMargin of ErrorSample Size
September 9-10, 2014
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to editor@ballotpedia.org.

Recent news

This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term "Hawaii + Governor + Election + Abercrombie"

All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.

Hawaii Gubernatorial election, 2014 News Feed

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See also

External links

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  1. National Conference of State Legislatures Website, "State Primary Election Types," accessed January 6, 2014
  2. Fair Vote, "Congressional and Presidential Primaries: Open, Closed, Semi-Closed, and 'Top Two,'" accessed January 6, 2014
  3. Ballotpedia research conducted December 26, 2013 through January 3, 2014 researching and analyzing various state websites and codes.
  4. The Cook Political Report, "Governors Race Ratings 2014," September 15, 2014
  5. Governing, "2014 Governors Races," September 10, 2014
  6. 6.0 6.1 Duke Aiona for Governor 2014 Official campaign website, "Homepage," accessed February 18, 2014
  7. 7.0 7.1 David Ige for Governor 2014 Official Campaign Website, "Homepage," accessed September 3, 2013
  8. Jeff Davis for Governor 2014 Official campaign website, "Meet Jeff," accessed February 18, 2014
  9. Hawaii News Now, "Hannemann supporters reach goal, will Mufi run?," February 21, 2014
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 10.6 Hawaii Division of Elections, "2014 Primary Candidate List: Certified," printed June 10, 2014
  11. Neil Abercrombie for Governor 2014 Official Campaign Website, "Homepage," accessed September 3, 2013
  12. 12.0 12.1 Hawaii Division of Elections, "Primary Election 2014 Results - Final Summary Report," August 10, 2014
  13. Politico, "Schatz-Hanabusa race too close to call," August 10, 2014
  14. Cook Political Report, "2014 Governors Race Ratings," May 16, 2014
  15. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named reelec
  16. Real Clear Politics, "2014 Governor Races, Ratings Map," accessed June 30, 2014
  17. USA Today, "Hawaii gov. blames political loss on gay marriage," August 30, 2014
  18. 18.0 18.1 Honolulu Civil Beat, "Ige Holds Healthy Lead Over Abercrombie in Hawaii Governor’s Race," June 12, 2014
  19. Honolulu Civil Beat, "Civil Beat Poll: Ige Maintains Solid Lead Over Abercrombie," July 31, 2014
  20. khon2.com, "HSTA endorses David Ige for governor," February 16, 2014
  21. The Star Advertiser, "Abercrombie loses support of former ally Cayetano," November 17, 2013
  22. Washington Post, "Gov. Abercrombie to appoint Inouye’s replacement," December 17, 2012
  23. The Washington Post, "Hawaii governor picks Brian Schatz for Inouye’s seat," December 26, 2012
  24. WMTW.com, "Inouye gave preference for successor before he died," December 18, 2012
  25. CBS news, "Inouye replacement to be named Wednesday," December 24, 2012
  26. Civil Beat, "Inouye's Last Wish Is Abercrombie's Biggest Burden," December 24, 2012
  27. The Hill, "Source: Hanabusa receiving 'a lot of pressure' to run against Abercrombie," December 27, 2012
  28. KHON2, "EXCLUSIVE: Hanabusa says 2014 run for governor, Senate, House all on table," January 14, 2013
  29. Honolulu Civil Beat, "Ige Holds Healthy Lead Over Abercrombie in Hawaii Governor’s Race," June 12, 2014