Rating Change: Hawaii Governor

Neil Abercrombie’s days as governor of Hawaii may be numbered. The Democratic incumbent is at considerable risk of losing renomination Saturday to state Sen. David Ige. And the primary is throwing a considerable amount of uncertainty into the general election. Abercrombie, a former congressman, alienated a portion of his own party after appointing Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz to Daniel K. Inouye’s open Senate seat, despite Inouye's reported request that Rep. Colleen Hanabusa be appointed after he died. Schatz is not in the clear in his own primary against Hanabusa, but he is in much better shape than Abercrombie. The general has a few different moving pieces. Republicans are set to nominate a credible contender in former Lt. Gov. Duke Aiona. And former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann, who has run as a Democrat for other offices numerous times, is running as an independent in this race. Republicans need a three-way race in order to win statewide race in Hawaii these days, and that is exactly where we’re headed. It’s difficult to predict the dynamic if Ige knocks off the incumbent in the primary, and it’s unclear whether he can unify the Democratic base enough to preclude Aiona from winning with a plurality of the vote. We’re changing The Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call rating of the race from Democrat Favored to Leans Democratic for now, but this could get much more competitive and become a much bigger headache for Democrats.