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Thursday, July 06, 2006

HI-Sen: Akaka on Shaky Ground

Posted by James L.

I know, I know. It's really hard not to think about the explosive events surrounding the Lamont/Lieberman battle this week. But we shouldn't forget about the other Democratic Senatorial primary battle happening a few thousand miles to the west between Hawai'i Senator Daniel Akaka and Rep. Ed Case. Case is interesting--in many ways, he's kind of like a bizarro Ned Lamont. His bid for Governor in 2002 drew support from a deep reservoir of discontent with the atrophied Hawai'i Democratic Party, while the old guard watched him with an unfriendly eye. While he lost a close primary, he won election to the House on Nov. 30, 2002 in a special election following the death of Congresswoman Patsy Mink. However, in Congress, Case has left a mediocre-to-disappointing record, ranking as 164th in the Democratic caucus on progressive issues. Akaka, meanwhile, is ranked 12th in the Senate. I'm not in favor of litmus tests or ideological rigidity, but replacing an anti-war incumbent with someone who boasts about how he would have voted for the Iraq War Resolution (had he been in Congress at the time) is borderline insane. If Akaka is knocked out on the Sept. 23 Democratic primary, we may be finding ourselves taking one step back for the step forward that we may get with Ned Lamont.

Can Akaka be beaten? Yes, it's not undoable. For starters, Akaka has acquired a something of a reputation for not getting much accomplished in the Senate compared to his colleague Sen. Daniel Inouye. Akaka's failure to move his keynote Native Hawai'ian federal recognition bill past a procedural vote for the fourth consecutive Congress only weakens his argument that Hawai'ians should preserve his all-important seniority in the Senate.

Still, Case has campaigned mostly to ensure that Akaka's seat is held by a younger, healthier Democrat with more gas in the tank, so to speak. And, given that Akaka is all of 81 years old, the message has gained a bit of traction: a recent Honolulu Advertiser poll (likely Democratic primary voters), while showing Akaka with a respectable 64% approval rating, nevertheless shows a tight race:

Daniel Akaka (D-Inc.): 51
Ed Case (D): 40
Undecided: 9
MoE: ±5.3%

I don't like that MoE, but I don't see any reason to doubt these results. Case has run one statewide campaign before, and two half-statewide campaigns (as Hawai'i only has two congressional districts, half the state, at least, is fairly accustomed to voting for him); he's already a serious threat. I wonder when folks like Ken Salazar and Ben Nelson will fly down to help out Akaka.

(I woulda had this one up earlier but I was at the Neko Case show tonight.)

Posted at 01:29 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Hawaii | Technorati

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We keep waiting for someone to help us. Can't the country see we our Democrat Senator is being seriously challenged by a closet republican. Senator Akaka may not be a lightening rod of change but he is always on the ride of change. His record is so worth saving. Case is running solely on the age issue. If he ran on issues he comes up either with the republicans, including his strong support of the war in Iraq, or he comes up blank.
Please help preserve a valuable Senate seat, send help....spread the word. Mahalo.

Posted by: BlueMaui [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 6, 2006 03:04 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Case is not just a pro-war Democrat. He's much worse. Case is a consistent supporter of the Corporate agenda that serves the cause of unfettered profits at any cost no matter what that does to consumers and workers. The DMI Legislative scorecard gives him a 50% overall rating on issues that impact on the real lives of middle class Americans (a "C"). That's a repulsive score for a Democrat but one that makes sense for someone as underhanded and reactionary as Case (brother of Steve Case, AOL crooked CEO and far right religionist fanatic).

Posted by: DownWithTyranny [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 6, 2006 12:31 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Looks like it's time to return to that favorite topic from the old days, DeLay-Lampson.

Posted by: KCinDC [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 6, 2006 12:50 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

National Journal Ratings
2004 LIB -- 2004 CONS
Economic 61% -- 38%
Social 64% -- 35%
Foreign 58% -- 42%

2004 LIB -- 2004 CONS
Economic 90% -- 7%
Social 82% -- 0%
Foreign 99% -- 0%

Quite a difference to say the least!

Posted by: Predictor [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 6, 2006 05:16 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Neko Case rocks.

Posted by: mullymt [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 7, 2006 12:22 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Neko Case does indeed rock.

Ed Case doesn't rock half as much, though.

Posted by: HellofaSandwich [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 7, 2006 12:36 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I've written a thing or two about this race on my blog, by the way. Yes, the contrasts between Case and Akaka are strong, especially when it comes to the war. I see it as a reverse Lieberman/Lamont race, and yet I am still hoping that the bloggosphere will get as involved in the Akaka race as they have Lamont.

Wouldn't it be ironic if Lamont wins, but Case cancels out all his votes in the Senate from Hawai'i? Darned ironic.

Posted by: schultzy [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 10, 2006 11:03 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

While I agree with much of what you write here, the Honolulu Advertiser poll had more serious problems than just the margin of error. It undersampled GOP crossover voters.

Go here for a more detailed criticism of the poll:

Defects in Advertiser Poll on Akaka-Case Race


Posted by: Neruda [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 18, 2006 05:41 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I just thought I'd point out that the date stamp on this article is a month in the future from when it was actually posted. Someone might want to fix that.

Posted by: Zed [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 28, 2006 04:56 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

July 6, 2006, is one month ahead of the actual date this post was published? No... I don't think so. I don't see how I could have written this post on June 6, 2006, considering one of my sources for the article--namely, the poll--was released on July 2, 2006.

Are you seeing something I'm not?

Posted by: James L. [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 28, 2006 05:05 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment