Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie suffered a massive personal defeat in the state’s Democratic primary Saturday, losing the first step of his reelection bid by more than 2-to-1. But Abercrombie’s youthful political legacies may have survived him.
Abercrombie, 76, had an incongruous mission as the second-oldest governor in the country: to inject more youth into the top ranks of the Hawaii Democratic Party. And though he lost big, two major appointees in their 40s, including Sen. Brian Schatz, have fared much better against challengers in their 60s.
Schatz’s race is too close to call, but the Senate’s second-youngest member led Rep. Colleen Hanabusa in the Democratic primary by nearly 1,800 with votes from just two storm-delayed precincts left to count after Saturday. Meanwhile, Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui, the man Abercrombie appointed to succeed Schatz as his No. 2, cleared his primary challenge easily.
That’s a big foothold for a youth movement in a state whose top political cast remained unchanged for a long time before this election cycle. Remarkably, at this time two years ago, the septuagenarian Abercrombie was the young one among Hawaii’s top officials, compared with multi-decade Senate veteran Daniel Akaka and the unofficial head of the state Democratic Party, Sen. Daniel Inouye, who spent nearly a half-century in the Senate and asked before he died in 2012 to have Hanabusa succeed him.
There are some stylistic and ideological differences between the younger and older sections of Hawaii’s Democratic Party, though Schatz and Hanabusa would have voted very similarly in the Senate. But Abercrombie noted repeatedly that Schatz would have a longer time to build up seniority and aid a post-Inouye rebuilding of the congressional delegation.
“That’s his commitment in being in office,” an Abercrombie adviser told National Journal in an interview last year. “He wants to be a transitional governor for generational change.”
Abercrombie is not going to be in office much longer after losing the gubernatorial primary to state Sen. David Ige, himself a three-decade state legislator. But the poster boys for Abercrombie’s Democratic youth movement may lessen the sting with their primary performances.
What We're Following See More »
A Russian government think tank run by Putin loyalists "developed a plan to swing the 2016 U.S. presidential election to Donald Trump and undermine voters’ faith in the American electoral system." Two confidential documents from the Putin-backed Institute for Strategic Studies, obtained by U.S. intelligence, provide "the framework and rationale for what U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded was an intensive effort by Russia to interfere with the Nov. 8 election."
"The FBI last year used a dossier of allegations of Russian ties to Donald Trump's campaign as part of the justification" to monitor Carter Page, who was then a defense adviser to the Trump campaign. "The dossier has also been cited by FBI Director James Comey in some of his briefings to members of Congress in recent weeks."
"The Air Force is set to deploy its high-tech, fifth-generation F-35A fighter jets to Europe this weekend as part of an effort to assure U.S. allies there who are worried about Russian aggression." The new, state-of-the-art fighters will train with European air units. "The Pentagon noted that the deployment had been long planned, meaning it was not a reaction to recent increasing tensions between the United States and Russia," although a statement noted the move is part of the "European Reassurance Initiative," which began three years ago when Russia annexed Crimea.