DCCC Pulling Out of Hawaii

Posted May 10, 2010 at 10:25am

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee announced Monday morning that it will no longer invest resources in the May 22 special election in Hawaii’s 1st district, effectively ceding the race to Republicans and likely setting the party up for what could be their first special election loss of the cycle.

“The DCCC will not be investing additional resources in the HI-01 (Abercrombie-open) special election,” DCCC spokesman Jennifer Crider 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.”

The DCCC’s move is monumental because it shows the party believes there is no path to victory in the special election, which features two Democrats — state Senate President Colleen Hanabusa and former Rep. Ed Case — who are splitting the party’s vote in the winner-take-all contest.

Recent polling showed Honolulu City Councilman Charles Djou (R) in the lead over both Hanabusa and Case, with only Case in a position to defeat the Republican. Despite the DCCC’s tacit backing of Case, Hanabusa reiterated her intention to stay in the race last week and effectively became a spoiler in the contest.

Democrats were successful in winning two competitive special elections in New York in 2009. What’s more, the DCCC went dark on Hawaii TV stations two weeks after the ballots were mailed out for the special election and just less than two weeks to go until the ballots are due.

The DCCC had already put $314,000 toward the contest to replace former Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D) in the 1st district, which President Barack Obama carried with 70 percent of the vote.

Just four days before Hawaii’s mail-in ballots are due on May 22, there is another special election in Pennsylvania’s 12th district. Both parties have invested heavily in that race as well.