Quite a predicament for Democrats
U.S. Rep. Abercrombie declines to challenge Linda Lingle for the governor's office.
SETTING aside the depth of consideration he might have given to the proposition, Neil Abercrombie's decision to take a pass
at running against Governor Lingle still leaves the Democratic Party without a candidate.
Though Republicans can be forgiven if they engage in a bit of schadenfreude, having suffered the same vacuity for decades, the Democrats' lack of an aspirant isn't good for voters.
Just as in years past when the heavy grip Democrats had on state politics discouraged diverse viewpoints, having no one to provoke discussion or challenge the incumbent's ideas for governing shortchanges citizens.
The congressman did not succumb to the temptation to take on Lingle even though he contends she is beatable. His reason, he said, is that his 15 years of seniority in the U.S. House are too valuable to give up. That is at odds with Abercrombie's statement to the Star-Bulletin's editorial board in March that he would certainly seek a seat in the Senate should there be an opening.
The Democrats' dilemma stems from the practice of anointing candidates for the state's top office with a succession of politicians bearing the correct party lineage moving up the chain. Four years ago, several people were vying for the nomination. Illegal campaign donations tripped up Jeremy Harris. Although he was not directly implicated, the background noise was enough to discourage a bid. Ed Case, whose political bloodlines weren't acceptable to party power brokers, made a strong showing in the primaries, but he could not beat back Mazie Hirono. Hirono, a lackluster candidate, lost to Lingle, and Case says he is perfectly happy with his current posting in Congress.
Since then, few Democrats have emerged with the wattage needed to take on the incumbent even as Lingle has been stymied in pushing her "new beginnings" agenda. Populist Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim and former Honolulu police chief Lee Donohue both would face uphill battles.
The dilemma for Democrats continues.
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