Abercrombie’s Early Exits Sets Up Special Election Headache for Dems

Posted December 11, 2009 at 5:06pm

Rep. Neil Abercrombie’s (D-Hawaii) imminent departure from Congress could set up another election problem for House Democrats, who have had three longtime Members in competitive districts announce their retirements in as many weeks.

Under Hawaii law the special election that will be created by Abercrombie’s resignation is a winner-take-all contest, which all but guarantees that it will be both competitive and expensive and gives Republicans a pick up opportunity.

If both former Rep. Ed Case and state Senate President Colleen Hanabusa decide to run in the special election, the two well-known Democrats could split the vote and allow Honolulu City Councilman Charles Djou (R) to win the contest. At the end of September, Djou reported having $267,700 in the bank — more than twice as much as Case. Hanabusa at that point was not yet in the race.

Case, who used to represent the Aloha State’s 2nd district, wasted no time in announcing that he is running in the special election. There is no word yet from Hanabusa, who has the backing of the pro-abortion rights group EMILY’s List.