Breaking Update on Hawaii Senate Race 2012

As we predicted in our analysis of Hawaii, Akaka would not be around for the 2012 race.  He’s announced that he will not be running.

We mentioned three reasons the race wasn’t “Safe Democrat”.

  1. Akaka would likely not be around,
  2. A democrat primary to spoil Akaka if he DID run,
  3. Linda Lingle as a star for the republicans.

Read more after the jump….

Charlie Cook at is quick to mention that although Hawaii is heavily democrat, none of the current potential democrat candidates are strong.  Here’s an excerpt from his report.  (I recommend the entire story, found here).

It seems unlikely that Abercrombie can run since he was sworn in as the state’s new governor less than three months ago. A run might also be a risky proposition for Hanabusa since she was just elected to Congress in November. Freshmen House members have been able to win Senate seats, but it is very rare. The last time it happened was in 1996 when Kansas Republican Sam Brownback was elected to the Senate after serving just one term in the House. Case gave up his House seat in 2006 to challenge Akaka in the primary, losing that race by 10 points. He also made an unsuccessful bid for the House in a special election last year, but placed third. Schatz is new to his job as lieutenant governor, while Hannemann lost last year’s gubernatorial primary to Abercrombie by 21 points.

In sum, as a result of either the timing of Akaka’s retirement or past defeats, very few of the candidates on this list make ideal 2012 Senate candidates. Only Hirono is in a strong position to run, and Democratic operatives believe that she is in the race. Within hours of the announcement, Hirono already began making calls to line up support for a run. She finished 2010 with $216,506 in the bank. But, this also makes Inouye’s mention of Duckworth all the more interesting.

Cook is also correct on another account (and a point we’ve made in the past).  The race hinges on if Lingle gets in.  If Lingle doesn’t run, we’ll bump the race to “Safe” for the dems.  If she runs, we’ll move the race to “Leans Dem”.  We predicted this development, and so we are able to keep the race categorized as “Likely” while our friends at other sites quickly move their ratings.


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