Primary election will decide final winners
Isle voters will go to the polls tomorrow to cast ballots in U.S. Senate and House races.
ENERGIZED by the most important primary election in many years, Hawaii voters should go to the polls tomorrow in large numbers, relieving the state from embarrassingly low voter turnouts in the past. Attention is focused on the U.S. Senate Democratic primary race between incumbent Dan Akaka and Rep. Ed Case, creating hotly contested battles for the House seat being vacated by Case.
The Star-Bulletin generally has avoided endorsing candidates in primary elections except in major races when the winner faces little or no opposition in the general election. That also is good reason for voters from one party that lacks a close contest to cross over and vote in the other party's column. In the Senate primary, we have endorsed Case, a moderate who can best represent mainstream Hawaii.
The final days of the campaign have turned ugly with the Akaka camp accusing Case -- in wildly inaccurate statements -- of having opposed Hawaiian sovereignty and programs. The considerations in the Case-Akaka race are seniority and effectiveness. Akaka's 16 years of seniority is modest, and his ranking is not likely to improve much during the next six years as he nears the end of his career. Hawaii would be best served by advancing Case, who can begin to build seniority while Sen. Daniel Inouye continues to exercise clout that has greatly benefited the state.
Charles Mahtesian, editor of the Almanac of American Politics, sizes up the race accurately on the National Journal's Web site as being between "quite possibly the nicest man in the Senate, but also its most anonymous" and "probably the most liberal Democrat ever accused of being a crypto-Republican."
While we endorse no candidate in either party's primary election for Case's House seat, we urge Democratic voters to recognize state Sens. Colleen Hanabusa and Ron Menor and former Lt. Gov. Mazie Hirono as being the most qualified candidates for the job in terms of political experience, ability and passion.
In the Republican race for the same seat, a major factor should be whether the nominee has the wherewithal to launch a serious campaign as November approaches. Quentin Kawananakoa and state Sen. Bob Hogue share a conservative philosophy, but Kawananakoa is wealthy and ready to spend his money on a robust campaign. Like it or not, that should be a consideration of GOP voters.
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