(A behind the scenes knock down drag out fight between Abercrombie and Inouye over how and when to push Akaka under the bus would explain the Palafox DoH dismissal—Inouye forced Abercrombie to dump Palafox--and would explain Clayton Hee’s bizarre attacks on Abercrombie’s DNLR nominee William Aila. The apparently bogus accusations of a Palafox investigation was just another piece of furniture Inouye was throwing at Abercrombie…. )
HNN: Discussions about Akaka's seat started weeks ago, sources say (annotated for clarity)
If Senator Akaka stepped down early Governor Neil Abercrombie would be able to appoint who fills the seat. That could give Democrats an advantage against Republicans next year. But Abercrombie denies talking with fellow Democrats to try and convince Senator Akaka to step down early. (Politicians are always guilty of what they deny.)
"Whatever takes place in the future will take care of itself," said Governor Abercrombie. (Is he speculating on Akaka’s death here?)
"If Governor Abercrombie was thinking along those lines I think it's just a practical assessment of the reality of who can best run against Governor Lingle who I don't think there is any doubt is going to be the Republican nominee," said Ed Case, former U.S. Representative.
Case says he has not had any discussions with the governor about the senate seat. He also fully respects Senator Akaka's decision to serve the full term.
Senator Akaka's decision was to serve out his full term, I don't fault that decision at all," said Case. "Did somebody try to engineer that differently (ie Abercrombie) I don't know? (Yes he does, this is his way of pointing fingers.) I'm sure Senator Inouye has been considering how to engineer this for some months if not years now." (Akaka staying on until his term is up will prevent Abercrombie from naming successor.)
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National Journal: Roll Call Politics moved the Hawaii Senate race rating Thursday from Likely Democratic to the more competitive category of Leans Democratic.
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National Journal: Expect Divisive Democratic Primary In Hawaii
with Sen. Daniel Akaka's (D-Hawaii) retirement announcement creating a Senate opening in Hawaii for the first time in over 20 years, Democrats could well be facing a messy primary of their own. In fact, Democrats have had a history of nasty spats in two recent Aloha State primaries - suggesting another colorful contest may well ensure in 2012.
The 2010 Democratic gubernatorial primary pitted former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann against longtime Rep. Neil Abercrombie. Hannemann ran to the more liberal Abercrombie's right in a race that remained competitive throughout the summer. But the campaign took a heated turn toward the end, and negative campaigning, mostly from Hannemann, swung a lot of votes in favor of Abercrombie, who eventually pulled away, winning by over 20 points.
A Hannemann mailer that received a lot of attention late in the race was denounced by critics for having racial undertones, and even prompted criticism from Sen. Daniel Inouye (D). Abercrombie also went on offense, hitting Hannemann with a negative radio ad. Inouye later interjected again, urging both candidates to keep it cordial and focus on policy differences.
In 2006, Akaka faced then-Rep. Ed Case in a combative Democratic primary. The race became a battle between Case's argument for a transition to a new generation of representation and the Democratic establishment in the state, who backed Akaka. Inouye provided substantial financial support to help Akaka fend off Case in a race the incumbent won by just over 9 points.