We all know about the intra-party fighting among Republicans. But mosey on over to Hawaii (via, um, plane?) and you’ll see a political knock-down, drag-out fight among Democrats over the Senate seat once occupied by Hawaii’s revered Daniel Inouye.
The two candidates don’t even have one nice thing to say about each other!
The primary contest between incumbent Brian Schatz — who was appointed to fill the seat after Inouye died in 2012 — and Rep. Colleen Hanabusa kicked up a notch Monday with President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid officially endorsing Schatz.
It’s wholly predictable that the Democratic establishment would back an incumbent — it would have been out of the norm for Reid or Obama to do otherwise. And Schatz chaired the Draft Obama Hawaii Campaign back in 2008, while Hanabusa initially supported Hillary Clinton. Schatz said he received a call from Obama last week to let him know about the endorsement.
But recall Inouye’s dying wish that Hanabusa, a longtime ally of his, be appointed by Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie to fill his seat after his passing. The popular senator — who had represented Hawaii in Washington ever since it became a state — even sent the governor a personal letter to that effect, which was eventually released to the media by Inouye’s staff to make it clear what the dying senator wanted to happen with his seat.
Abercrombie went with his lieutenant governor instead. “I make this decision with full confidence that Brian’s appointment is in the best interest of the state of Hawaii and the nation,” Abercrombie said at the time.
Now, polling has been mixed and all over the place; a February Honolulu Star-Advertiser poll had Hanabusa leading Schatz by 8 points. Other polls show a dead heat. Polling is difficult in Hawaii, so all numbers should be viewed skeptically, which makes this race even more dramatic. Schatz does have a fundraising advantage, having raised twice as much money as Hanabusa over the entire cycle thus far.
Progressives have mostly supported Schatz. The Progressive Change Campaign Committee backed him, calling the race “the Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic Party against the corporate wing.” Democracy for America has also backed Schatz.
The race is emblematic of Hawaii’s complex politics, including generational, ethnic, and political divides. Schatz is the first white senator to represent Hawaii — a racially and ethnically diverse state — since the 1960s. And when Abercrombie appointed Schatz, he noted his age, 41, as a positive in that he can build seniority over time, while Hanabusa, 62, couldn’t. Hanabusa has said such comments are insulting to voters.
Despite Inouye’s popularity and Hanabusa’s name recognition, an Obama endorsement will go much further in Hawaii than in any other state. It’s the president’s home state, where he has the highest approval ratings of anywhere in the country.
What We're Following See More »
In town to receive the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor at the Kennedy Center, Bill Murray casually strolled into the White House Briefing Room this afternoon. A spokesman said he was at the executive mansion for a chat with President Obama, his fellow Chicagoan.
"A federal appeals court's decision that declared the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau an arm of the White House relies on a novel interpretation of the constitution's separation of powers clause that could have broader effects on how other regulators" like the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Housing Finance Agency.
"According to a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll, the first national post-debate survey, 43 percent of registered voters said the Democratic candidate won, compared with 26 percent who opted for the Republican Party’s standard bearer. Her 6-point lead over Trump among likely voters is unchanged from our previous survey: Clinton still leads Trump 42 percent to 36 percent in the race for the White House, with Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson taking 9 percent of the vote."
Twitter bots, "automated social media accounts that interact with other users," accounted for a large part of the online discussion during the first presidential debate. Bots made up 22 percent of conversation about Hillary Clinton on the social media platform, and a whopping one third of Twitter conversation about Donald Trump.
The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, the nonprofit that published the Panama Papers earlier this year, is being spun off from its parent organization, the Center for Public Integrity. According to a statement, "CPI’s Board of Directors has decided that enabling the ICIJ to chart its own course will help both journalistic teams build on the massive impact they have had as one organization."