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Hawaii Primary Roundup

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Neil Abercrombie is the first Hawaii governor to lose a renomination bid while Brian Schatz avoided becoming the first Aloha State U.S. Senator to do so

neilabercrombie10.jpgOne-term Hawaii governor Neil Abercrombie made headlines a little over a week ago not by losing to State Senator David Ige as all polls suggested he would, but failing to win even half the support of his opponent.

Abercrombie's loss marked the first time in Hawaii history that a sitting governor seeking reelection failed to win his party's nomination.

Aloha State governors had previously been successful in each of the previous eight renomination attempts since statehood: Republican William Quinn (1962), Democrat John Burns (1966, 1970), Democrat George Ariyoshi (1978, 1982), Democrat John Waihee (1990), Democrat Benjamin Cayetano (1998), and Republican Linda Lingle (2006).

The 31.4 percent won by Abercrombie was less than half of the vote carried by Ige (67.5 percent) in the three-candidate field.

While that is abysmally low, it is not the worst primary performance in recent years by a sitting governor: in 2006, Alaska Republican Frank Murkowski mustered just 19.1 percent of the primary vote in a five-candidate field won by Sarah Palin.

Four years later, Nevada Republican Governor Jim Gibbons tallied only 27.2 percent in a five-candidate field won by Brian Sandoval.

Abercrombie is the only governor seeking reelection to lose his or her renomination bid so far this cycle and the first Democratic governor to lose a primary since Bruce Sundllin of Rhode Island lost to Myrth York in 1994.

Overall, Abercrombie is the 26th sitting governor of either party to lose a renomination bid over the last 50 years.

In the much more suspenseful Democratic U.S. Senate primary, it took an extra week to make incumbent Brian Schatz the official winner, by 0.7 points.

Schatz edged Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa by less than 1,800 votes in one of the most-watched primaries of the cycle to date.

With his victory, Senator Schatz keeps alive the perfect renomination record by Hawaii U.S. Senators since statehood.

Incumbents seeking reelection have been renominated in all 17 attempts: Republican Hiram Fong (1964, 1970), Democrat Daniel Inouye (1968, 1974, 1980, 1986, 1992, 1998, 2004, 2010), Democrat Spark Matsunaga (1982, 1988), Democrat Daniel Akaka (1990, 1994, 2000, 2006), and Democrat Brian Schatz (2014).

Hawaii is one of just eight states in which U.S. Senators seeking reelection have never lost their party's nomination along with Kentucky, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and Wyoming.

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Remains of the Data

Plurality-Winning Governors Elected At Century-Long High Water Mark

The rate of gubernatorial candidates elected without the support of a majority of voters is at its highest level since the 1910s.

Political Crumbs

Seeing Red

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Home Field Advantage?

When the 114th Congress convenes in a few days, Maine will be represented by one home-grown U.S. Representative: Waterville-born Republican Bruce Poliquin. With the departure of Millinocket-born Mike Michaud, who launched a failed gubernatorial bid, the Pine Tree State was poised to send a House delegation to D.C. without any Maine-born members for the first time since 1821. Three-term U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree (born in Minnesota) coasted to reelection as expected, however Poliquin edged Kentucky-born Emily Cain by 5.3 points to keep the streak alive. Since 1876, a total of 208 of the 222 candidates elected to the nation's lower legislative chamber from the state have been born in Maine, or 94 percent.


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