Primary preview: Hawaii state executive elections, 2014

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August 8, 2014

Hawaii

By Maresa Strano

August 8, 2014 Election Preview
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Jump to the section for:
*Hawaii Governor
*Hawaii Lieutenant Governor

HONOLULU, Hawaii: On August 9, Hawaii voters will brave the extreme weather to select the Democratic and Republican nominees for governor and lieutenant governor.[1]

Governor and lieutenant governor are the only state executive positions up for election in 2014 in the state of Hawaii. Hawaii is one of only three states, the others being New Jersey and Tennessee, where the governor/lieutenant governor ticket is the only statewide elected office.

Both incumbents, Democratic Gov. Neil Abercrombie and Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui, are seeking re-election and face heavy primary challenges.[2]

The winners of the four executive primary contests will join a slew of already-filed third party and unaffiliated candidates on the November ballot. While nominees for governor and lieutenant governor are elected separately in the primary, they run on single ticket in the general election.

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.[3][4][5]

Below, Ballotpedia has put together a preview of those upcoming elections.

In Hawaii, polls are open from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Hawaii Time.[6]



Hawaii Governor

See also: Hawaii Gubernatorial election, 2014

General election

Democratic primary

Republican primary


Hawaii Governor - General Election
Poll David Ige (D) Duke Aiona (R)Mufi Hannemann (I)OtherUndecidedMargin of ErrorSample Size
Rasmussen
September 9-10, 2014
40%39%14%2%6%+/-4.0750
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.

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 Lieutenant Governor

See also: Hawaii Lieutenant Gubernatorial election, 2014

General election

Democratic primary

Republican primary

Hawaii Lieutenant Governor, Democratic Primary
Poll Shan Tsutsui* Clayton HeeMary ZanakisMiles ShiratoriUndecidedMargin of ErrorSample Size
Hawaii News Now Poll
July 2014
36%34%7%2%21%+/-4.6458
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.

Race background

Shan Tsutsui (D) became Hawaii Lieutenant Governor following his appointment by Gov. Neil Abercrombie on December 27, 2012.[35] Tsutsui was tapped to fill the role vacated by former-Lt. Gov Brian E. Schatz (D), whom Abercrombie had appointed to replace the late Daniel Inouye (D) in the U.S. Senate, effective December 26.[36] Tsutsui will serve out the remainder of Schatz's term, ending in January of 2015, and is running for a full term as lieutenant governor in November 2014.[37][38]


See also

Ballotpedia News

References

  1. The Washington Post, "Hurricanes roil historic Hawaii primary and could boost challengers," August 7, 2014
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 Hawaii Division of Elections, "2014 Primary Candidate List: Certified," June 10, 2014
  3. National Conference of State Legislatures Website, "State Primary Election Types," accessed January 6, 2014
  4. Fair Vote, "Congressional and Presidential Primaries: Open, Closed, Semi-Closed, and 'Top Two,'" accessed January 6, 2014
  5. Ballotpedia research conducted December 26, 2013 through January 3, 2014 researching and analyzing various state websites and codes.
  6. State of Hawaii - Office of Elections, "Home page," accessed January 3, 2014
  7. 7.0 7.1 Duke Aiona for Governor 2014 Official campaign website, "Homepage," accessed February 18, 2014
  8. 8.0 8.1 David Ige for Governor 2014 Official Campaign Website, "Homepage," accessed September 3, 2013
  9. Jeff Davis for Governor 2014 Official campaign website, "Meet Jeff," accessed February 18, 2014
  10. Hawaii News Now, "Hannemann supporters reach goal, will Mufi run?," February 21, 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
  30. Hawaii Reporter, "Hawaii's Libertarian Candidates Field Record Number of Candidates," June 9, 2014
  31. Hawaii News Now, "Clayton Hee announces run for Lt. Governor," May 11, 2014
  32. Mary Zanakis for Lieutenant Governor 2014 Official campaign website, "Homepage" accessed June 30, 2014
  33. Elwin Ahu for Lieutenant Governor 2014 Official campaign website, "Homepage," accessed June 30, 2014
  34. Kimo Sutton for Lieutenant Governor 2014 Official campaign website, "Homepage," accessed June 30, 2014
  35. Hawaii Reporter, "Senate President Shan Tsutsui Named Hawaii's 12th Lieutenant Governor," December 27, 2012
  36. Star Advertiser, "Abercrombie picks Schatz to replace Inouye in U.S. Senate," December 26, 2012
  37. Star Advertiser, "Tsutsui announces run to keep lieutenant governor's seat" accessed June 14, 2013
  38. Hawaii News Now, "Tsutsui begins lieutenant gov re-election campaign" accessed June 14, 2013