The Hawaii special election seems pretty bizzare. We have a couple of Democrats in the running, and a Republican. Whomever wins a plurality gets the nod.
On the onehand, AFSCME is backing Democratic state Sen. Colleen Hanabusa, so is EMILY's list, so are both Democratic Senators, Inouye and Akaka. On the otherhand, we have Ed Case, a former Representative that was a pretty conservative vote, considering he's represented Hawaii.No one is backing him, but the DCCC thinks he's more "electable" so they are:
In recent weeks, the DCCC reached out to Inouye and Akaka, both of whom have endorsed Hanabusa, to inform them the committee is considering lining up behind Case, according to two sources with knowledge of the conversations.
"We have to figure out how we convince them that it's not in our interest to take a loss," said a top Democratic official who is not involved in the DCCC’s efforts.
Practically speaking, though, the key to delivering a win for Case may have less to do with Akaka and Inouye than with the Hawaii's most powerful union— the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which is also backing Hanabusa.
Case has burned too many bridges in HI to get the full backing of the party. His staying in the race is probably the only way that the Republican could win with a plurality. This would be the time that you'd think the DCCC comes in and tells Case he doesn't have a chance, but instead is working at tearing down Hanabusa:
...the DCCC is providing under-the-radar organizational support to former Rep. Ed Case against state Sen. Colleen Hanabusa, including assistance from DCCC western regional political director Adam Sullivan.
Those efforts have coincided with the circulation of opposition research within Washington advancing the notion that Hanabusa is a longtime insider who received significant legislative pay raises at a time when the state has suffered through economic hard times—an emerging storyline that led Hanabusa to pull down her first campaign ad touting a vote to cut state legislative salaries and concede that the spot was misleading.
A pretty bone-headed ad, to be sure. So the DCCC did the oppo research on the Democrat and brought about a possible scenario in which Democrats lose the special election in Hawaii.
THings also don't look too rosey in Mutha's CD, where the more-electable Hafer
was pushed dropped out of the primary:
The contest to replace the late Democratic Rep. John Murtha is still taking shape but Democrats in Pennsylvania and Washington are expressing worries is that the party nominee, former Murtha district director Mark Critz, is uniquely vulnerable to being painted as a political insider at time when that is no asset.
“Locally, there’s a lot of anger, people know things aren’t right. And it taps into the general anxiety out there that things are on the wrong track,” Barbara Hafer, Critz’s one-time primary opponent and a former state treasurer, told POLITICO. “That could lead into a throw-the-bums out attitude.”
One Democratic operative following the race, noting that public polling shows Critz with a narrow lead over Republican businessman Tim Burns in a district with a significant Democratic voter registration advantage, was blunter in his assessment: “It’s easy to make an argument that he’s part of the problem. He was a Hill staffer, he asked for questionable earmarks. There’s a lot to beat him up on.”
It's looking like Democrats will be lucky to come out of this with a split.