A vote for Coffee would be wasteful
The governor is urging Republicans to vote for Jerry Coffee for the U.S. Senate, although he has withdrawn his candidacy.
JERRY Coffee, the former Vietnam prisoner of war whose column appeared regularly in MidWeek, has withdrawn from the race for the U.S. Senate because of a heart attack
, and voters entering polling stations are being advised of his withdrawal. Gov. Linda Lingle still cast her vote for Coffee and is urging fellow Republicans remain in her party's voting column and do the same. That would be ignoring the most important race on the ballot for all voters.
The polite reason to vote for Coffee is that if he wins the GOP primary election, the Republican Party would be allowed by state law to name a prominent person to replace him in the general election. That could be Charles Djou, who faces no opposition for his re-election to the City Council, but is running TV ads asking viewers to "remember the name, Charles Djou."
Realistically, Djou would have little chance of winning a race against either Democratic candidate, U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka or U.S. Rep. Ed Case. That reality makes the Democratic primary equivalent to the general election, and Case invites Republicans to participate by voting in the Democratic column.
Those who do so are likely to vote for Case, who appeals to many Republicans because of his moderate position on some issues. The much more liberal Akaka could have an advantage if Case is unable to persuade enough Republicans to vote in the Democratic race.
Lingle has a major stake in the outcome of the Akaka-Case battle. If Akaka wins and is unable to complete the six-year term, the governor will be allowed to appoint his successor, albeit from the Democratic Party.
In any case, Lingle will have two years following her second and final term as governor to campaign for that same Senate seat if -- as widely assumed -- she wishes. Obviously, she would rather face Akaka, who then will be 88 years old, than Case, a spry, 59-year-old incumbent.
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