Magazine article Politics Magazine

Hawaii

Magazine article Politics Magazine

Hawaii

Article excerpt

WITH AN OPEN SEAT governor's race looming next year, a primary could pit two of the state's most popular Democrats against one another. With Republican Gov. Linda Lingle on the way out, 10-term U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie has already declared his intention to run, and Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann is in the exploratory stage. Hawaii offers Democrats an ideal pick-up opportunity with the increasingly unpopular Lingle leaving behind a fiscal mess. The state is facing a nearly $1 billion budget shortfall and has already seen well over 1,000 state workers lose their jobs. "We're basically California, only smaller," says John Radcliffe, a Honolulu-based Democratic lobbyist and campaign consultant. Radcliffe, a longtime Abercrombie supporter, but who has ties to both Democratic candidates, says there's plenty of people who would rather see Hannemann remain in the mayor's office in Honolulu than jump into the governor's race. "There's no doubt that these are both high-energy candidates and they're both strong," he says. "If it comes down to the two of them, anything can happen--and probably will."

A Research 2000 poll from the summer gave Abercrombie a 20-point lead over Hannemann in the primary, but a full 36 percent of respondents were undecided. …

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