With Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, D-Hawaii, opting against a Senate bid and former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann possibly headed for a run in Hawaii's 2nd District, the possibility of a direct Democratic showdown between Rep. Mazie Hirono and former Rep. Ed Case is looking more likely.
Case, who has in the past found himself opposite the state's Democratic establishment looks like he is headed for a similar spot this cycle. The Honolulu Star Advertiser:
[Hawaii Democratic Party Chairman Dante] Carpenter has pledged that the party will remain neutral in the primary, but many establishment Democrats, labor leaders and progressives are aligning behind Hirono.
Labor leaders met privately Wednesday at the International Longshore and Warehouse Union's headquarters and reached consensus on what participants later described as a "solid front" for Hirono.
The former congressman has already ruffled some feathers by releasing the results of an internal poll showing him faring better than Hirono against former Gov. Linda Lingle, prompting pushback from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Meanwhile, Hirono already has the support of EMILY's List, and is working to coalesce local establishment support.
Still, addressing concerns over electability may be more pressing for Hirono, who lost to Lingle in the 2002 governor's race after defeating Case in the primary. In which case, rallying early, widespread support within the party will be crucial for the 2nd District congresswoman. For Case, raising doubts over Hirono's ability to win the general is already an emerging strategic gambit.