Patrick Ruffini offers an unexpected and compelling bit of news: in Hawaii, an upcoming special House election — yes, I know, it seems like there’s always a special election coming up somewhere — has the potential to be “NY-23 in reverse.”
Hawaii has no special primary elections, and all candidates run in the general election. A simple plurality is required to win. Currently, the HI-1 field features two well-known Democratic candidates (with another on the way in), and one competitive Republican candidate, Charles Djou . . .
The Djou campaign is taking nothing for granted and has a vote goal of 50.1%. Charles Djou is prepared to take on a single major Democratic candidate. But we do note that the Democrats’ ability to consolidate around a single candidate is clouded by the presence of two well-known Democrats from different factions of the party who are unlikely to drop out and endorse the other. In the Blue Dog corner is former 2nd District Rep. Ed Case, and representing the liberal base is State Sen. Colleen Hanabusa who has been resoundingly endorsed by organized labor and EMILY’s List. A third candidate has recently emerged, State Sen. Will Espero, who is likely to further split the Democratic vote.
In effect, the HI-1 special can be likened to NY-23 in reverse, with Ed Case occupying the unenviable “Scozzafava” position and Hanabusa representing the base of the party. Like Scozzafava, Case has depended on crossover Republican votes to win elections in the past, support that is likely to evaporate once voters know there is a real, electable Republican candidate in the race.
A Republican winning a House race in Hawaii is about as likely as . . . well, a Republican winning a Senate seat in Massachusetts, and we know how that turned out.