Legislative Lowdown: Identifying competitive Hawaii elections in 2014

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June 18, 2014

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2014 Hawaii Legislative Lowdown

Table of Contents
Majority control
Margin of victory
Competitiveness

Other 2014 Election coverage
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By Ballotpedia's State legislative team

With an already firm hold on the state’s Senate and House of Representatives, as well as the Governor’s office, Hawaii is a Democratic trifecta that may get even stronger in the general election. In particular, three races in the House should be interesting to watch, as the seats were won by a margin of victory of less than 5 percent in 2012 and are all currently held by Republicans.

Of the 25 seats in the Hawaiian State Senate, only one is held by a Republican. Democrats hold 44 (86%) of 51 seats in the State House. The Senate will hold just nine primaries, while the House will be more active, with twenty-one primaries.

June 3 was the signature filing deadline for candidates wishing to run for Hawaii State Senate and Hawaii House of Representatives. Elections in 13 Senate districts and 51 House districts will consist of a primary election on August 9, 2014, and a general election on November 4, 2014.

See also: 2014's state legislative elections, Hawaii State Senate elections and Hawaii House of Representatives elections

Majority control

Heading into the November 4 election, the Democratic Party holds a majority in both state legislative chambers. Hawaii's office of Governor is held by Neil Abercrombie (D), making the state one of 13 Democratic state government trifectas. A Ballotpedia analysis of partisan balance between 1992 and 2013 shows that Democrats held the House and Senate for the entire period.

The difference in partisan composition between Democrats and Republicans in the Senate is 23 seats, or 176 percent of the seats up for election in 2014. In 7 (54%) of the 13 districts up for election, two major party candidates will appear on the general election ballot.[1]

Hawaii State Senate
Party As of September 2014 After the 2014 Election
     Democratic Party 24 Pending
     Republican Party 1 Pending
Total 25 25

The difference in partisan composition between Democrats and Republicans in the House is 37 seats, or 72.5 percent of the seats up for election in 2014. In 38 (75%) of the 51 districts up for election, two major party candidates will appear on the general election ballot.[2]

Hawaii House of Representatives
Party As of September 2014 After the 2014 Election
     Democratic Party 44 Pending
     Republican Party 7 Pending
Total 51 51
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Margin of victory

Senate

All 25 seats in the Senate were up for election in 2012. One of those seats held a mildly competitive election in 2012, with a margin of victory of 5 to 10 percent. Just one of those districts will be up for election again in 2014.[1] That district is:

Mildly Competitive

  • District 23: Gil Riviere (D) will face the winner of a three-way Republican primary in the general election for the seat being vacated by Clayton Hee (D). Hee won by a margin of victory of 7 percent in 2012.

House

All 51 seats in the House were up for election in 2012. Three of those seats held competitive elections in 2012, with a margin of victory of 0 to 5 percent. Those same three seats, District 36, District 40 and District 45 will hold competitive elections in 2014.[2] Those district are:

Competitive

Competitiveness

Using the official candidate lists from each state, Ballotpedia staff analyzes each district's election to look at the following circumstances:

  • Is the incumbent running for re-election?
  • If an incumbent is running, do they face a primary challenger?
  • Are both major parties represented on the general election ballot?

In Hawaii's 2014 elections, those circumstances break down as follows:[3]

  • There are 5 open seats (7.81%) in the two chambers.
  • A total of 21 incumbents (36%) face a primary challenger.
  • 45 districts (70.31%) will feature a Democratic and Republican candidate on the general election ballot.

The following table puts the 2014 data into historical context. Overall index is calculated as the average of the three circumstances.

Comparing Hawaii Competitiveness over the Years
Year  % Incs retiring  % incs rank  % Incs facing primary  % Incs primary rank  % seats with 2 MPC  % seats with 2 MPC rank Overall Index Overall Index Rank
2010 10.9% 31 40.35% 6 90.6% 7 47.28 6
2012 10.5% 40 38% 8 61.8% 25 36.77 24
2014 7.81% Pending 36% Pending 70.31% Pending 38.04 Pending

Senate

The following table details competitiveness in the Hawaii State Senate.

Hawaii Senate Competitiveness
 % Incs retiring  % Incs facing primary  % seats with 2 MPC Overall Index
15.3% 54% 54% 41.1

Candidates unopposed by a major party

In 6 of the 13 districts up for election in 2014, there is only one major party candidate running for election. Six Democrats are guaranteed election in November barring unforeseen circumstances.

Candidates from both major parties will face off in the general election in 7 of the 13 districts up for election.

Primary challenges

Seven incumbents will face primary competition on August 9. Two incumbents are not seeking re-election in 2014 and another four incumbents will advance past the primary without opposition. The state senators facing primary competition are:

Incumbents retiring

Two incumbents are not running for re-election in 2014. Those incumbents are:

Name Party Current Office
David Ige Electiondot.png Democratic Senate District 16
Clayton Hee Electiondot.png Democratic Senate District 23

House

The following table details competitiveness in the Hawaii House of Representatives.

Hawaii House Competitiveness
 % Incs retiring  % Incs facing primary  % seats with 2 MPC Overall Index
5.9% 27.4% 75% 36.1

Candidates unopposed by a major party

In 13 of the 51 districts up for election in 2014, there is only one major party candidate running for election. Thirteen Democrats are guaranteed election in November barring unforeseen circumstances. Candidates from both major parties will face off in the general election in 38 of the 51 districts up for election.

Primary challenges

Fourteen incumbents will face primary competition on August 9. Three incumbents are not seeking re-election in 2014 and another 34 incumbents will advance past the primary without opposition. The state senators facing primary competition include:

Incumbents retiring

Three incumbents are not running for re-election in 2014. Those incumbents are:

Name Party Current Office
K. Mark Takai Electiondot.png Democratic House District 33
Richard Fale Ends.png Republican House District 47
Jessica Wooley Electiondot.png Democratic House District 48

See also

External links

References