Primary Election – Fun with numbers

Friends and activists,  The polls closed one week ago.  This is my read on the primary election.

Gov.  Recalling six months of primaries, Abercrombie may be the only congressman to win a 2010 gubernatorial primary and he won big.  Anti-incumbent fever on the mainland caught the others.  I’m waiting for the next independent poll which should be more in Aiona’s favor.

Mayor.  The party failed to rally and GOTV, leadership failed to support and repubs failed to vote for the only candidate pledged to stopping the biggest money mistake in state history.  And, he was the only repub in the race.  Interestingly, Prevedouros rec’d 38k votes to Aiona’s 31k Oahu votes.

  1. Dem conservatives (Sakamoto, Bunda) split their vote and progressive Schatz won big.  Repub King ran well enough (+ blank votes) to hold party & leadership-supported Finnegan to only 59% of the repub vote.

Tea party supported Willoughby’s (HI-2) win is the only evidence of local tea party success.  Of three tea party members running for office, two lost primaries (S25 Pandolfe and Maui Mayor Hodges) and one ran unopposed with 37% blank votes (S4 Seibert).  Local tea party may support several repub candidates though they would best meet their goal by focusing on S8 Slom’s race.  National tea party probably won’t get involved because of repub support for Akaka Bill and Aiona (Gov) decision to not sign the Taxpayer’s Protection Pledge.

Sagum (H16) is the only incumbent to lose.  Some (H11 Bertram, H41 Cabanilla, H4 Hanohano, Maui Mayor Tavares) won close primaries.  This doesn’t include Hannemann (Gov) and Caldwell (HNL Mayor) who were ‘in office’ and lost to others ‘in office.’  This is not an anti-incumbent year in Hawaii.

Aiona received the highest repub incumbent vote percentage (93), followed by H43 Pine (92), H18 Ward (89), H27 Ching (86), Slom (83), H50 Thielen (81), H19 Marumoto (80), LG candidate Finnegan (59).

GRIH Legislative Scorecard ratings, measuring 2010 floor votes on taxes, business climate, spending, individual liberty, special funds raids and scope of gov’t, are Slom 95%, Finnegan 56%, Pine 54%, Marumoto 54%, Ching 40%, Thielen 37%, Ward 37%.   Ward, Thielen and Marumoto are unopposed in the general election.  S25 Hemmings 78% is not running.

No way to tell for sure.  Perhaps evidence of crossover voting (I don’t think it is voter dissatisfaction) shows in Inouye’s (US Sen) opponent+blank votes (nothing like that since his ’92 primary) and that 16 dem incumbents received less than 70% of their party votes.  Hard to tell.  Another indicator: those Prevedouros vs Aiona (and vs LG total) Oahu votes.  A friend challenged my estimate (a guess) of 10k-20k crossover, statewide, but now I am going closer to that top end.

Kudos’ deserved for candidate recruitment.  However, eighteen (!) house/senate repubs and three dems raised no money or didn’t even submit a report to CSC.   Candidates who do not campaign do not “tie down” opponents.  Considerable resources to recruit ‘any name’ candidates could be used on competitive candidates.  The optimum situation is to have many credible candidates.  Make your candidates credible.  Those of you supporting campaigns must use your experience and contacts to take your candidate to the next level.  The Party should focus on winnable races.

H33 Okino’s race may be an indication of religious right impact.  He spent twice as much per vote as Oshiro ($26/vote to $15) and a religious affiliated PAC mailed into the district.  Okino still lost by 12 points.  Hannemann lost 59 to 38 but may have split the religious vote with Aiona.  Several repubs strongly supported by the religious right showed solid name ID (S24 Bean with only 18% blank votes, H28 Chang with 21%).  A repub divide could get worse if Kaauwai (Party Chair) continues to suggest that only Jesus followers should serve and continues to ‘decide’ who is righteous.  The religious right is now best served if they (quietly) focus their resources on H32 Johanson and H18 Baron.

Kaneshiro (HNL Pros) was the biggest surprise.  Under the radar.  Spent only $1/vote.

Low turnout is in line with past elections.  Either (1) there were no marked changes in demographics or (2) a considerable decrease in Obama voters offset a considerable increase in tea party and religious right votes.   I surmise mostly (1).  That could change for the general election.  A telling number is 16%.  Someone can check my numbers but, of votes cast, repub Gov received about 16% of the (dem+repub) vote.  Dems rec’d 84%.  I’ve seen many estimates of dem vs repub in Hawaii, usually around 40% vs 20% or 2:1.  Certainly, no one believes the ratio is 4+:1.  Repubs did not GOTV and absolutely every independent had to pull a dem ballot.  Perhaps, we shouldn’t compare dem to repub turnout because of that contested gov primary.

We can compare blank votes percentage.  At the bottom of the food chain, name recognition is very much a function of walking the district.  If repubs voted for repubs, as urged by the Party and current Governor, then the numbers are disappointing.  One dem (SD8) and 27(!) repubs (9 Senate, 18 House) had more than 33% blank votes.

Most repubs are at a money disadvantage.  HRP can afford to effectively participate in only two-three house races (compared to 13 last cycle and more than 17 in ’04) or conduct a very limited AB or GOTV effort.  HRP warned candidates to expect no party support.  This could be overcome by (1) increased candidates’ DTD voter contact, (2) fundraising better than to present, (3) spending on voter contact instead of staff and admin and (4) outside assistance.  RGA is spending $700k so far for Aiona which will help down-ticket, NRCC may again spend for Djou (HI-1) but it is looking less likely and the RNC early help is slowed by their worsening financial position.

Both parties should address their party rules.  Okino was publicly called out for endorsing repubs (some of whom were conservative) and many repubs gave effort and money to (recent republican convert) non-partisan Carlisle (HNL Mayor) over repub Prevedouros.

Watch the changes in dem legislative leadership.  Incumbents leaving office to run for another office cause the greatest impact on the balance of dem factions in the house and senate.

Please stay involved.  The primary election leaves hope for repubs in several general election races as long as every campaign works as hard as they are able.  The three most important things to do leading to the general election:  Focus, focus and …….. focus.  People, money, time, message, effort………….focus.


Next:  Races to watch and why.

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