Except for Scott Brown in Massachusetts, Republicans have not had much luck with special elections to the 111th Congress. Dems have won all six of the races, including a Republican stronghold in New York’s 23rd district (who can forget the Dede Scozzofava mess?). Well, the GOP luck looks like it’s about to change: the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee today announced it is pulling out of the special election to fill Rep. Neil Abercrombie’s seat. Abercrombie, a Democrat, left office just before the final health care vote to run for governor of Hawaii – unlike his GOP counterpart Nathan Deal who postponed his run for higher office in Georgia to help his party on the crucial vote.
“The DCCC will not be investing additional resources in the HI-01 (Abercrombie-open) special election,” Jennifer Crider, a DCCC spokeswoman, said in a statement. “Local Democrats were unable to work out their differences. The DCCC will save the resources we would have invested in the Hawaii special election this month for the general election in November.”
So far this cycle much of the primary attention has gone to the right what with the advent of the Tea Party movement. But in this case, Democrats are proving that they are also capable of friendly fire. The district is President Obama’s childhood home and is rated D+11 by the cook Political Report. And yet Republican Honolulu City Councilman Charles Djou looks poised to win the May 22 special election. This is because the two Democratic candidates, former Rep. Ed Case (brother of AOL’s Steve Case) and President of the State Senate Colleen Hanabusa have engaged in a vicious war that has essentially ended in a double suicide – or homicide, depending on how you look at it. When your own party throws up its hands in disgust, you know you’re doing something wrong.
Case is more of a Blue Dog moderate and Hanabusa is a progressive. Hanabusa enjoys the support of local party establishment: no shocker since many are still smarting from Case’s primary challenge of Senator Daniel Akaka. DCCC Chairman Chris Van Hollen had asked Abercrombie to throw his weight behind one of the candidates to help keep his former seat but in another profile in political courage, Abercrombie has yet to endorse, presumably for fear of angering one wing of the party since he’s in a tough primary battle himself for the governor’s mansion. Aloha, Hawaiian Republican Party, welcome to Hawaii’s first district.