HI-Sen: Primary roles reversed from Connecticut

Here is something I have not said much this cycle: I think it is time to support a Democratic incumbent against a Democratic primary challenger. Here is why:Any regular reader of The Fix knows that the Connecticut primary between Democratic Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman and wealthy businessman Ned Lamont is shaping up as a referendum on the war in Iraq.

Lieberman's unstinting support for the conflict has led to considerable unrest among the party's liberal base, who are lining up behind the antiwar Lamont in hopes of toppling a titan. (Lamont is up with three television ads in advance of this weekend's state convention.)

But, few political junkies -- even true Fix fanatics -- are likely aware that a similar situation is playing out in Hawaii's Democratic primary between Sen. Daniel K. Akaka and U.S. Rep. Ed Case. In that contest, Akaka is touting his vote against the 2002 use-of-force resolution while Case has said he would likely have supported it had he been in Congress at the time. I am thrilled hat Case, who is not a very loyal or progressive Democrat when it comes to either voting or rhetoric, is vacating his seat. This makes it far easier for a progressive to take over for him. However, I think it would be a disaster if a progressive like Akaka were to lose to a New Dem upstart. The idea of pro-Iraq war Dems successfully defeating anti-Iraq war Dems in 2006 is nauseating to me.

I also think that this election has a useful purpose. If anyone has the gall to claim that progressives are wasting Democratic resources in 2006 by challenging incumbents like Lieberman, just point to Hawaii where conservatives are doing the same thing. How dare the DLC waste Democratic resources like this! Don't they know the real target should be Republicans?

It might be fun to compare the final results in Hawaii to the final results in Connecticut. Let's see who can run the better primary challenge.

Update: Polls apparently show Case either ahead or very competitive, although I can't find anything on polling report. Akaka has a 76-18 approval rating among Dems according to Survey USA.

Tags: Democrats, HI-Sen, Primary Elections, Senate 2006 (all tags)



Re: HI-Sen: Primary roles reversed from Connecticu

this is good though because in 2010 inouye will retire.  Case would have an easy shot at that seat if he kept his house seat till then. vacating it however gives 2 terms to a more liberal dem to be in congress and then run for the senate, such as former lt gov Hirono

by yomoma2424 2006-05-21 11:51AM | 0 recs
Re: HI-Sen: Primary roles reversed from Connecticu

One question I have it...why is Leiberman saying that he will become an Independent if he looses the primary???  AND WILL THE DEMOCRATS IN DC actually
work for Lamont.  Mr. Lamont worked very hard to win this convention...I know that many people who voted at the convention will be voting for Lamont, rather than Joe.  Joe has sided too much with the republicans in the past and we are tired of it.  If you are a Democrat, you vote with them...not against them.  Ever hear of Loyality??  Seems this has been forgotten.  If the DSCC doesn't wake up and see what is really going on, then it will fold.  Look what you all did to the fellow from Ohio...he should have won....and instead you backed the other guy.  Plus I  believe there were questions on the voting machines in the race with Schmidt...Hackett may have won...just like Gore won in 00 and 04...these machines by Diebold are fudged by the opposition...it has been proven.

I for one will not give one more dime to any Democratic group, but only directly to the candidates that I think are worthy of winning.
It is time to rid the government of those that are in it only for themselves....they forget who put them there...They are elected to represent US, the voters...not their agendas.  I think too that the lobbyist need to be disbanded and not allowed to give anything to any politicians..this is where most of the trouble is.  

Wake up Democrats...we need a win, but we need compliant people that will honor their oaths and not ignore them.

by momaloney 2006-05-21 12:03PM | 0 recs
Someone explain to me...

  ...how support for the war would be a SELLING point in a Democratic primary.

  I know Hawaii is a heavily militarized state, but still...

by Master Jack 2006-05-21 12:12PM | 0 recs
Another question

 Are Harry Reid, Chuck Schumer et al rallying around Akaka they way they did for Lieberman?

by Master Jack 2006-05-21 12:13PM | 0 recs
Re: Another question


by yomoma2424 2006-05-21 12:15PM | 0 recs

 Another question: Who's financing Case's challenge? I can't imagine it's a grassroots effort...

by Master Jack 2006-05-21 12:24PM | 0 recs
Re: Thanks

moderate democratic types. not the establishment, they are mostly behind akaka, but remember that the more that case's challenge looks like even money, the more that big buissness and unions and such will jump in , in its attempt to gain influence

by yomoma2424 2006-05-21 12:26PM | 0 recs
Re: HI-Sen: Primary roles reversed from Connectic

Case isn't challenging Akaka because he's anti-war and too liberal, he's challenging him because, no joke, he might die in the next 6 years. While it may be bad to have a New Democrat instead of a pretty progressive democrat in Hawaii (not that we already lack a moderate democrat from Hawaii, look at Inouye), it would be tons worse if we had a Republican - and that would be VERY possible if Akaka dies in the next 6 years and is replaced by a Republican appointed by Republican Governor Linda Lingle. Of course, that would probably be the end of Lingle's career if she did that, but that's another story.

by KainIIIC 2006-05-21 12:21PM | 0 recs
Re: HI-Sen: Primary roles reversed from Connectic

i thought i was going to rebuke you bad by saying that inouye is a moderate, but looking it up, i realized you are right.  80 progressive punch score is right about in the center of the senate democrats, near bill nelson, kent conrad.  i guess you learn something every day

by yomoma2424 2006-05-21 12:24PM | 0 recs
Re: HI-Sen: Primary roles reversed from Connectic

However, Case is a Blue Dog DINO in the mold of Liebermann.  He voted for the bankruptcy bill and is for the war in Iraq.  He is not even a moderate.  I live in Hawaii and agree that Akaka's voting record should be more to the left than it is but putting in Case would be awful because he is such a "maverick" and never follows the party line.  His voting record in the State Senate proves this. He is not a reliable dem and would be a lifelong DINO in the Senate.  Abercrombie was supposed to get that seat and he is a true diehard liberal.

Now about that poll, I'm on Case's mailing list and he sent it out but to this date no breakdown on the specifics of the poll were given.  Just 700 people 40% Akaka, 38% Case.  This means that it could have been dems, repubs, or independ who were polled so I am very skeptical.  While at the state convention this week I will know more about the feel but at the Oahu county convention the pro-Case sentiment hardly even existed.  He didn't even come to speak. I don't think Akaka is in that much trouble with Case to be quite honest.

by burroughs 2006-05-21 02:04PM | 0 recs
Re: HI-Sen: Primary roles reversed from Connectic

From KITV-Honolulu:

"It appears that Case is only giving out the poll results that make him look good. For example, he wouldn't tell KITV the results for voters who are likely to vote in the Democratic primary, which is the race they're in. So the results he released include Republican voters, many who will not vote in the Democratic primary in September."

Hawaii has something called a single-party primary. Hawaii Revised Statutes Section 12-31 provides:

"No person eligible to vote in any primary or special primary election shall be required to state a party preference or nonpartisanship as a condition of voting. Each voter shall be issued the primary or special primary ballot for each party and the nonpartisan primary or special primary ballot. A voter shall be entitled to vote only for candidates of one party or only for nonpartisan candidates. If the primary or special primary ballot is marked contrary to this paragraph, the ballot shall not be counted."

So Hawaii GOP voters could theoretically vote for Case in the primary but that would prevent them from voting for a GOP candidate. I don't think strategic voters exist in sufficient numbers to effect the re-election of Akaka in the primary - he enjoys 70%+ support from Democrats.

by joejoejoe 2006-05-21 09:25PM | 0 recs
Re: HI-Sen: Primary roles reversed from Connectic

Lingle cannot appoint a Republican.  State law requires that vacancies be filled by someone from the same party.  Of course, she'll pick a conservative recent convert to the Democratic Party, but it's likely that state Dems will just primary the appointee out and run their own.  I'm not too worried.

However, if Case gets in now we're stuck with his Blue Dog war-supporting ass for 30 years.

by Skaje 2006-05-21 04:18PM | 0 recs

Even in 2003 before the war started, Case was criticising Bush for violating the spirit of the resolution when he went to war without trying diplomacy first or gaining international support.  Ed Case doesn't think Congress can set an effective timetable for withdrawl but has to rely on persuading the president.

It's not pro-withdrawl enough for me but it agrees with most Congressional Democrats.  And we're not opposing Lieberman for voting with Bush once, we're opposing him for kowtowing to Bush constantly.  It's important to make the distinction.

Also, Case is in favor of protecting the Arctic Refuge and blocking more irresponsible clearcutting in America's last large preserve of our ancient forests in the Tongass.

Akaka has been one of the foremost advocates for devestating the Arctic Refuge with drilling.  He has voted time and again to cut thousands of miles of new logging roads in the Tongass.

And Akaka was just described by Time magazine as one the the five least effective senators.

It is not at all obvious that Akaka is the Reform Democrat choice in this race.  I'm backing Case.

by ChetEdModerate 2006-05-21 12:34PM | 0 recs
Re: Disagree

the whole alaska thing is just part of an agreement with the alaska senators for support for akaka's native hawaiin bill. i agree that akaka doesnt do much waves in congress, but i would rather have him in the senate than case, who would be a pryor esque figure who you could never count on for a vote.  we dont need another moderate senator. this is a liberal state, so we should get a liberal senator.  if the republicans can get conservatives elected in swing states, we should be able to get a liberal in hawaii

by yomoma2424 2006-05-21 12:51PM | 0 recs
Re: Disagree

the whole [tearing Alaska a new one and smash the earth agenda of Akaka] is just part of an agreement with the alaska senators for support for akaka's native hawaiin bill.

Just think how many supporters he could gain by signing up to support the marriage ban amendment or the Human Life Amendment.  Would the ends justify the means then?

by ChetEdModerate 2006-05-21 01:18PM | 0 recs
Re: Disagree

i dont agree at all with what is going on there. i am just saying, he personally does not support it.  he knows alaska wont pass(as it is filibustered and defeated by about 7-8 votes every time) and he wants to get support for his bill. horse  trading goes on all the time. and for someone who is supporting the moderate candidate in this race, it seems funny to be criticizing akaka for being not liberal enough

by yomoma2424 2006-05-21 01:21PM | 0 recs
Case should run for Governor.

They need somebody there.

by Liberal 2006-05-21 01:37PM | 0 recs
Re: Case should run for Governor.

I agree 100%. That would solve the entire problem of the possibility of Akaka's death.

by KainIIIC 2006-05-21 02:33PM | 0 recs
Re: HI-Sen: Primary roles reversed from Connecticu
How can you defend Case's voting record?  He said he would have voted for the authorization to go to War.  He voted for the bankruptcy bill and he pays lip service with the rest when really he is a repub in democratic sheep's clothing.
Case is wrong for Hawaii. Our local party has a lot of problems right now and we are in the process of getting things to the point where they should be but this won't bring about any good for a state trending  slowly more red. Case jumping ship is great because this seat should be like a memorial to Patsy Mink. No one should taint it with the slightest hint of conservatism.    
by burroughs 2006-05-21 02:14PM | 0 recs
Re: HI-Sen: Primary roles reversed from Connecticu

i would have no problem with case in most states and cases, but hawaii already has an incumbent lib dem so this challenge is quixotic. case ought to run against Lingle, otherwise Lingle will be a tough opponent in 2010 when inouye retires.  

by yomoma2424 2006-05-21 02:18PM | 0 recs
Re: HI-Sen

I know there is a basis for comparison - but the races seem very different. Especially in the motives of the two candidates.

From all accounts Akaka has been ineffective. I know he is progressive, but what major accomplishments does he have in the Senate?

by DFLer22 2006-05-21 02:36PM | 0 recs
Re: HI-Sen: Primary roles reversed from Connecticu

I live in Hawaii and can't abide Akaka. On the votes he could have made a difference on, he let us down. He voted to drill in Alaska and voted to allow Alito to escape the filibuster.

by Brian J 2006-05-21 10:20PM | 0 recs
Re: HI-Sen: Primary roles reversed from Connecticu

Hawaii to MyDD: Akaka has been a big disappointment -- a typical go-along, get-along Senator who has been played for a sucker by Senate Republicans on the so-called Akaka Bill, for which he sold his Alaska oil drilling vote (and still got squat in return). You call that progressive? It's not even smart politics. And equating Case with Lieberman is another huge stretch of the imagination. Rethink this one, please!

by Big Island 2006-05-21 11:45PM | 0 recs
Re: HI-Sen: Primary roles reversed from Connecticu
Sorry Big Island--I would agree with you but you should know that Case and his voting record would be much worse and would be in office much longer.  Hawaii Dems just need to push Akaka around and make him more responsive to his base, something I agree he is not.  If it were a real progressive running against the corrupt old boy system here then I would be all for it but not Case.  
I have met and talked extensively with him in his "Talk Story" sessions and he is wrong for Hawaii.  Akaka has never gone on FOX News and supported the war or Bush, Case just got greedy and is now pushing bogus polls to try and regain any kind of momentum.  His campaign is dead in the water--all the big money has been tied up.  Its Abercrombie we want to have this seat--not Case.
by burroughs 2006-05-22 02:34AM | 0 recs
The problem...

...is while Akaka is clearly preferable in terms of ideology and what he says, he is largely considered an ineffectual Senator.

I'm about as far from Hawaii as anyone can be in this country, so I don't have a finger on the pulse of the average voter.

But what I can say about the CT and HI primaries is that you seem to have two different ways of approaching the election.  Most people on this blog, dailykos, and similar outlets largely care about what "talking points" a politician speaks of.  The question is how much does this resonate with a state's party voters, who do have to rely on this guy to address actual concerns?

by JPhurst 2006-05-22 05:11AM | 0 recs
Case IS Lieberman

well case has a poll showing it tied - but the poll has zero credibility - see http://starbulletin.com/2006/05/21/edito rial/borreca.html

And Case IS LIEBERMAN - he's with bush on Iraq, Patriot Act AND Torture...

"...Case does not want to change course and believes troops can be withdrawn only after the new Iraqi government and security forces have contained the violence that threatens the country's stability." [Honolulu Advertiser, 3/6/06]

"Democratic Rep. Ed Case said Sunday that the Guantanamo prison for terrorists was being run well and did not match allegations the detainees were being abused and tortured." [AP, 6/27/05]

Case has split with his Hawaii Colleagues and voted in favor of the Patriot Act:  KEY PATRIOT ACT VOTES:
*    House Vote 414 - HR 3199: Patriot Act Reauthorization - Passage
July 21, 2005
*    House Vote 627 - HR 3199: Patriot Act Reauthorization - Conference Report
December 14, 2005

by CMoPol 2006-05-22 05:37AM | 0 recs
Poinography good source for coverage of this race

I would encourage folks interested in this race to check out Poinography.com blog by Doug White, where he has been looking at issues that divide Akaka and Case and the polling question among other things. A good source for Hawaii politics in general...

by scottmaui 2006-05-22 06:19AM | 0 recs
by posco 2006-12-02 09:03AM | 0 recs


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