In Hawaii, Governor Neil Abercrombie (D) became the first incumbent governor in the state to lose his or her primary and just the second governor in the state’s history to only be elected to one term. Governor Abercrombie lost to state Senator David Ige, who had served in the state legislature for over two decades. Ige defeated Abercrombie, 67% to 31%.
Ige was underfunded, but focused on grassroots campaigning. The governor held a 10-1 fundraising advantage and Abercrombie also had the endorsement of President Obama, who remains popular in his home state. The President also recorded a radio advertisement for the Governor late in the primary campaign. “The voters of Hawaii have said loud and clear that it’s not money that wins elections,” Senator Ige said. “It’s about grassroots campaigning, meeting voters face-to-face, and above all, listening to what they have to say.” However, the Lieutenant Governor, Shan Tsutsui, won his primary. Tsutsui assumed the role after the previous lieutenant governor, Brian Schatz, was appointed by Governor Abercrombie to the US Senate. State Senator David Ige will take on Republican James Aiona and independent Mufi Hannemann in the general election. James Aiona previously served as Lieutenant Governor under former Governor Linda Lingle and ran for governor in 2010 against Abercrombie.
Polling has shown Aiona leading Ige, especially since Hannemann is expected to take away Democratic votes. Politico has reported that Gov. Abercrombie plans on supporting Ige, and the national political parties are taking an interest in the general election. The Republican Governors Association released this statement,
“Duke Aiona has a vision for Hawaii’s future and knows the state can do better,” said RGA Chairman Chris Christie. “A tested leader with years of experience serving Hawaii, Aiona has a strong record of accomplishment to build on. He is prepared to restore accountability in state government and preserve the Aloha State’s tradition as a place where opportunity and prosperity are available to all. The Republican Governors Association is proud to support Duke Aiona for governor.”
“David Ige may have beat out Governor Abercrombie tonight, but his far-left approach would only take Hawaii further in the wrong direction,” said RGA Executive Director Phil Cox. “After four years of Abercrombie’s weak leadership and poor stewardship of taxpayer dollars, the last thing the state needs is another tax-and-spend liberal in the statehouse. It’s time for a big change in Hawaii and Duke Aiona will deliver that change.”
The chair of the Democratic Governors Association, Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin, released a statement as well regarding the general election,
“First, I’d like to thank my friend Governor Neil Abercrombie for his decades of outstanding service to the people of Hawaii. As governor, Neil didn’t make decisions based on what he thought would be popular – he made them based on what he knew was the right thing to do. He inherited a mess, but because of his steadfast leadership, the state is now back on strong financial footing, businesses are creating jobs at a rapid clip, and investing in a world–class education system and affordable housing are finally priorities.
“The last thing the people of Hawaii need now is to go back to the failed Republican policies of the Lingle-Aiona administration. On their watch, unemployment surged to the highest level in a quarter century, a $732 million surplus was turned into a $1 billion deficit, and Furlough Fridays gave the state the shortest school year in the nation.
“David Ige won’t allow that to happen again. He will lead in the tradition of strong Democratic governors who are working every day to create jobs, strengthen the middle class, and expand economic opportunity to all. He’ll make smart investments in education, energy, workforce training, innovation and technology. And he’ll do it in a bipartisan, fiscally responsible way. That’s what the people of Hawaii need in a governor, and that’s what they’ll get when they reject the failed Lingle-Aiona record and elect David Ige in November.”