SPOTLIGHT

Hawaii’s Governor Could Be First to Lose

Hanabusa has criticized Ige’s leadership ability in her Democratic primary challenge.

U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, left, talks to reporters after receiving an endorsement for Hawaii governor from U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, right, on Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2018, in Honolulu. Gabbard says that a "failure of leadership" in the administration of incumbent Gov. David Ige affirms her belief that Hawaii desperately needs a strong governor.
AP Photo/Jennifer Sinco Kelleher
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Kyle Trygstad
March 27, 2018, 9:21 a.m.

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner will almost certainly be the most vulnerable governor come November, but one of his colleagues may not even make it that far.

A poll conducted earlier this month and published Sunday in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser found Rep. Colleen Hanabusa leading Hawaii Gov. David Ige 47-27 percent ahead of their Aug. 11 Democratic primary matchup. Running third was former state Sen. Clayton Hee, who along with Hanabusa and Sens. Brian Schatz and Mazie Hirono ran in the 2006 2nd District open-seat primary, which Hirono won.

An Ige loss would mean two straight Hawaii governors failed to be renominated, following Ige’s defeat of Neil Abercrombie in 2014. Abercrombie was hurt in part by voters’ distaste for his confrontational style, while Ige, a longtime state legislator, could lose because of a perception of incompetence that may have become ingrained after the January false ballistic missile alert.

The timing didn’t help him. Hanabusa had formally launched her campaign just days earlier, citing “a deeply troubling lack of leadership and vision.” Now in her second stint in Congress, winning would seal an unlikely comeback after losing the 2014 Senate special election to Schatz.

Kyle Trygstad

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