Any Democrats hoping that former Rep. Ed Case would step aside to clear a path for Rep. Mazie Hirono to be the Hawaii Senate nominee shouldn’t hold their breath.
Case has been out of Washington, D.C., longer than his tenure in town and has no prominent or visible support here. He has made it clear he is prepared to paint his primary rival as an insider’s choice.
“Mazie is not the change candidate. She is the inside Washington, status-quo candidate,” Case told Roll Call. “And that fundamentally is going to be the difference between us.”
The former Congressman’s unrelenting argument centers on his own viability against former Gov. Linda Lingle (R), despite the fact that the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee endorsed Hirono and an internal poll from Hirono’s campaign shows her leading Case by 18 points.
Case said the DSCC endorsement only confirms his position that Hirono represents more of the same in an election in which he believes voters desire an outsider to bust through the insular Capitol Hill bubble.
“The sentiments in Hawaii about Washington’s failure of leadership are no different than the rest of the country,” Case said.
Hirono is about to cash in on the DSCC endorsement. According to an invitation obtained by Roll Call, she will be in Seattle on Friday for a fundraiser hosted by Strategies 360 and headlined by DSCC Chairwoman Patty Murray (Wash.), EMILY’s List and Washington Democratic Reps. Norm Dicks, Rick Larsen, Jim McDermott and Adam Smith. The event at a Belltown restaurant asks for donations of at least $125, with $2,500 earning donors “host” status.
Case knows the establishment chips are stacked against him, which means he’ll surely trail in fundraising for the next eight months until the Aug. 11 primary. Hirono raised more than twice as much as Case in the third quarter — $302,000 to $136,000 — and her lead will likely grow in the fourth quarter.
Hirono’s establishment support is thanks in part to the greatest influence in Hawaii Democratic politics, Sen. Daniel Inouye. The nine-term Senator wants Hirono to succeed his good friend, retiring Sen. Daniel Akaka (D), and serve alongside him in the Senate. While he hasn’t given an official endorsement, Inouye has attended at least two Hirono fundraisers in D.C.
In an interview, Hirono only briefly mentioned Case. But she said having the support of colleagues and the DSCC speaks for itself, given that her primary opponent served with all four Washington state Democrats attending the fundraiser.