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Sunday, November 21, 2010
Hawaii GOP State Senate results underline importance of community commitment
By Andrew Walden @ 5:32 PM :: 7441 Views :: Energy, Environment

by Andrew Walden

Of the 13 senate seats up for election in their normal four-year rotation, the GOP contested 12 (no GOP candidate was fielded in SD11) plus races in SD7 and SD22 caused by resignations by Hooser and Bunda.  Only seven races were contested by the GOP in 2006.  Of the four races against a pro-civil unions Democrat where a comparison is possible, the GOP averaged a gain of 2.4%.  In the races where a Democrat incumbent voted for gay civil unions and a comparison to 2006 (or in the case of a resignation, 2008) is possible the results are as follows: 

    • SD7   +5.1%
    • SD9   +4.8%
    • SD13 +0.6%
    • SD24 –1.0%

    The power of incumbency is shown by the loss of Fred Hemmings SD25 seat with a GOP vote total declining from Hemmings’ 64.5% to Virginia Enos’ 40.3%—a drop of 24.2%.  Likewise in SD 19 the GOP total dropped from 54.7% for then-Republican Mike Gabbard in 2006 to 24.1% for Republican Aaron Bonar running against now-Democrat Gabbard in 2010—a drop of 30.6%.  This indicates a 25% to 30% difference in margin created by incumbency.  Incumbency is largely a measure of the candidate’s personal effectiveness and community involvement as perceived by the voters.  A properly-positioned challenger with strong community involvement can gain some of this “incumbent” advantage for himself or herself.  (More on this in another article.)

    • SD19 – 30.6%
    • SD25 – 24.2%

    In a seventh district, SD20, GOP results against anti-444 Democrat Sen. Will Espero were flat between 2006 (36.5%) and 2010 (36.3%).  In two districts where anti-444 Democrat incumbents quit (Sakamoto SD15 and Bunda SD22) no comparison is possible because the GOP did not field a candidate in the previous election for that district.

    • SD20 –0.2%

    The core message of the Republican Party consists of fiscal conservatism, social conservatism, and strong national defense.  This corresponds with the core constituencies of the GOP: small business, faith-based voters, and voters with military ties.  In spite of the GOP’s losses at the top of the ticket, re-integrating faith-based voters into the GOP has produced gains at the ballot box for legislative campaigns and made all the difference in 2010 candidate recruitment. 

    Now that the GOP coalition is whole again, the challenge is to improve the quality of campaigns and deepen the community ties of candidates--or recruit candidates with deeper community ties--so that GOP can turn gains into wins. 


    RELATED: Church-based voter drive brings 15,000 to polls, powers GOP House gains

    GOP SENATE RESULTS 2010            
    DIST #   2010 2008 2006   HB444 INCUMBENT  
    2   22.7       YES    
    4   21       YES    
    7   27.1 22     YES Hooser quit
    8   55.4       NO Slom  
    9   26.1   21.3   YES    
    10   22.8       YES    
    13   23.2   22.6   YES    
    14   16.7       NO    
    15   30.3       NO  Sakamoto quit
    19   24.1   54.7   NO    
    20   36.3   36.5   NO    
    22   27.6       NO Bunda quit
    24   40.2   41.2   YES    
    25   40.3   64.5   NO Hemmings quit

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