The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has officially ended its intervention in the Hawaii Congressional special election to replace Neil Abercrombie, judging that the unique all-candidate, first-past-the-post format makes it likely for a Republican, Charles Djou, to score a temporary victory.
“The DCCC will not be investing additional resources in the HI-01 (Abercrombie-open) special election. Local Democrats were unable to work out their differences,” DCCC communications director Jennifer Crider said in an emailed statement. “The DCCC will save the resources we would have invested in the Hawaii special election this month for the general election in November.”
The move comes as polls show Honolulu City Councillor Charles Djou (R) leading 2 other Dems — ex-Rep. Ed Case (D) and state Senate Pres. Colleen Hanabusa (D) — in advance of the May 22 special election. The winner of the plurality of votes will fill Abercrombie’s seat for the remainder of the term.
What this means is that voters, and not the DCCC, will decide which Democrat takes this seat in November. Case and Hanabusa will face one another in the September 18 primary, and the winner will go up against Djou in the general election, in all likelihood. In that matchup, the Democrat would be heavily favored and would not need too much national Democratic support.
I’m not completely convinced that Djou is now a shoo-in to win the seat from May to November, but obviously, having one Republican and two Democrats in a winner-take-all race raises his prospects significantly. Rather than make an intervention that would anger local Democrats, the DCCC decided to stay out of it. And that arguably represents some progress.